Archive for July, 2012

Purple Martin Nestling: Finding A Too Young To Fly Baby On The Ground

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Here is a question I received concerning a nestling found on the ground.

Q:

Dear PurpleMartins-R-Us:
I have some martins and a baby was pushed out by a SY male martin. I’m not sure which gourd the nestling came out of. I put him back into one of the gourds. Will he be ok if it is the wrong gourd?

A:

Simply put, as long as they are close in age it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. Its always better to place in a nest of same or slightly younger nest mates, if same age is not possible. Never have the new member be the youngest, if you can help it.

But purple martin jumpers and what to do, is a complex questions and their are a lot of variables in order to answer this question properly. First of all, a Purple Martin Jumper (for those who do not know) are nestling martins that are too young to fly but somehow get pushed or jump out of their nest. They are referred to as Jumpers whether they jump or are pushed. The most important thing to remember is that if you do not discover why the baby was on the ground, it MAY happen again.In the above question it was a case of being pushed out, so the solution was simple. If they are pushed out by either another martins, then your chances of a repeat are greatly diminished! Be happy! But if the baby is truly jumping then the reasons needs to be addressed immediately to prevent another leap and to prevent the nestling from certain death. Purple martins will NOT feed babies on the ground.

We will look at the true jumper and what to do in an upcoming post.

Purple Martin Colony Loss: Getting Your Martins Back

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Here is a question I received concerning what to do when a colony is lost due to predation.

Q:

Dear PurpleMartins-R-Us:
My 92-year old grandfather has two purple martin houses (a 24-compartment house and a 12-compartment house). Unfortunately, after about 10 years of successfully colonizing, snakes climbed the poles about five years ago and that was, of course, the end of the purple martins. He misses them dearly and is highly motivated to resume his landlord duties should the martins come home.
My question is, how do we bring the martins back? He continues to clean the houses and raise them in time for their migrations, but to no avail. Do we need to replace the houses? Do we need to move the houses?
We appreciate any advice you can offer and thank you for your time!

A:

Basically he has to start from scratch. Use tools like dawnsong CD’s to attract them in to the site and decoys, prevent any further predation from snakes and he should be able to attract new martins from his surrounding area. Unfortunately, The martins that lived in his houses, that lost babies due to the snakes, will never return. Moving or changing the houses should not be necessary.

This question highlights the need to vigilance when it comes to protecting your colony from predation. Predator Guards, Snake netting and nest checks are tools that can keep your martin colony healthy and thriving.