Archive for December, 2010

Let’s Get Ready for Martin Season!

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

Well, Christmas is over, Hanukkah is done. The holidays are past and now the planning has begun. Now is the time to plan ahead and nip any impending problems in the bud.

For example, those pulley ropes don’t last forever. Order them now and change them so that you don’t end up with a catastrophic scenario after your season has begun. You can usually replace the rope quite easily but what rope you choose to replace what is currently on your purple martin system is CRUCIAL.
Under NO circumstances should you use polypropylene rope, it is yellow in color and often used in marine applications. It is sometimes referred to as nylon rope or boat rope. Do not use it as it will degrade in the sunlight with UV rays and break. Natural fiber ropes are also a poor choice as all natural fibers will decompose by their nature.  Make sure you purchase real polyester rope or nylon rope. They even make ropes that are a combination of the two. They resist UV rays and are the best choices for outdoor use. We recommend bringing them out of the weather to get them to last longer- up to 10-12 years. Leaving them outside year round cuts their life expectancy to 5-8 years. Polyester rope is the best choice and easy to find.

Real nylon rope is harder to find. Look for solid, braided 100% nylon. It is white in color and is more elastic than polyester, so may require tightening due to stretching.

With any rope, look for wear and fraying.  Small tufts are normal. These tufts look like small feathers or hair sticking out of the rope.  If your rope becomes stiff and hard or begins to unbraid, then you should replace the rope. Whether you replace only the rope or the pulleys also, is up to you. Just make sure you oil with 3-1 oil, not WD-40. I was not aware that WD-40 is not really an oil but a water dispersant and will not adequately protect your pulley’s. (Thanks Diane!)

Tree Swallows Galore

Monday, December 6th, 2010

With my backyard being a veritable desert of bird life lately, I was surprised to see hundreds if not thousand of tree swallows streaking westward at about 2:30 this afternoon. With their stark white bellies flashing they darted about all going towards the same common destination. I am not sure where but they were not pausing to eat. The shot straight and true.
With the holidays almost here I know that soon our purple martins will be starting their journey home. Shortly after New years, they always seem to show up on Florida’s west coast then within a few weeks they come home to me. It is really not that far away. Fall has been pretty boring with even my migratory visitors not staying for long. My Eastern Phoebe was only around a day or two. A pair of Sandhill Cranes frequently tempt fate by walking way too close to the road. Hopefully winter will treat the martins kindly.
For now the tree swallows will just have to do.