Archive for the ‘Beau’ Category

Perfect Storm

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Over a week of terrible weather due to the first named tropical system of hurricane season and a greedy Coopers Hawk has taken its toll on our colony. The hawk was coming several times a day. I witnessed him grabbing the sides of the houses and gourds and shaking them violently in order to try and flush out martins. He got 3 birds in one day that I witnessed. Of course, it could have been more than one Coopers…maybe a family of them for all I know. What I know for sure is that the large numbers of recently fledged martins are no longer being brought home at night and our numbers have plummeted drastically. There are about 4 nests being fed and night time is a much quieter affair. It is hard to say if the hawk has stopped coming by as often because there are less birds or there are less birds due to the hawk. I won’t take any credit in scaring the hawk off with our Scarecrow…but you never know.


Sad News

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

As you know, on Saturday I dropped off a HY purple martin that I found at the Davie Roost. The apparent trauma of a tree collision (?) the martin was unable to fly and seemed to be slightly uncoordinated. I brought him to the Folke Peterson Wildlife Center where he was given some medications and observed. Today I received bad news. Apparently after he failed a flight test, he had an X-ray taken and it was found that he has a crushed shoulder. Unable to be fixed surgically, he is doomed; and though calm and comfortable, his days are numbered. I am upset at the news and so looked forward to releasing him back at the roost to join his comrades. I am so sad to think that he will meet the same fate as those that were littering the floor. Another fallen martin, another statistical failure and another purple martin that will never fly across the Equator. I will tell you when his hour comes.

The colony remains busy in the morning but quiet as evening approaches and I am looking forward to going to the roost again. I have been unable to locate any raccoon repellent at the local Lowes, hardware store, feed store, Dicks sporting goods or Bass pro shop. The ideas I have received include moth balls, metal flashing, Vicks vapor rub, large cat (like lions and tiger) feces, traps and chaining a large dog to a tree under the colony. Unfortunately, I have been unable to come through on many of those ideas. The folks at one animal removal service told me that since the raccoons have discovered the richness of the roost, that a chemical/scent repellant will be useless.

Update on Injured Martin

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Good news on the HY purple martin! In yesterdays post I wrote about the injured martin I found laying upsidedown at the base of a tree at the purple martin roost. Last night I fed him some scrambled eggs and this morning I fed him some more eggs and about a dozen large flies I caught. Yes, can you imagine me catching flies to feed a bird? What purple martin landlords will do for these birds. The martin seemed in good condition but just didn’t want to fly so I had decided to bring him to Folke Peterson Wildlife Center.

Later in the day I called and Vered, the Certified Veterinary Technician at FPWC, told me that she also suspected head collision trauma. The bird had received some medication to decrease any swelling in the brain and if all goes well he may make it to Brazil yet! Hopefully he won’t get to close to that raccoon at the roost before he flies south. The question is now begging to be asked, What is head collision trauma and what should you know about it?

We called this type of injury “deceleration trauma” in my nursing days. This little purple martin probably flew into the tree at the roost or perhaps even another bird in flight, nothing could have prevented this accident. Fatal head trauma happens all the time, and most of it is completely preventable. Did you know that window collisions are the number 1 human related cause of death in birds. We are talking about estimates of 100 to 900 MILLION dead birds per year from flying into glass windows. has a great list of the top 13 human related causes of bird deaths and the info on this site is sobering. Check it out HERE. But what should one do when you find a victim of a window collision? Read this article by FLAP called Enhancing Recovery: Helping Bird Rescuers Help Birds .

Though there was no way to prevent this young martins collision, most of the human related collisions can be prevented. How can you protect birds from window collisions? Window Screens break up the reflection of the glass. Hanging any number of objects in front of window like old CD’s, ribbon, suncatchers, stickers or decals such as WindowAlert are a great help also.

I will keep you up to date on the little guy.

Folke Peterson Wildlife Center

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

I recently posted about my desire to help my local rehab center obtain Purple Martin housing. You may or may not know what is my relationship with Folke Peterson Wildlife Center. It all started with an injured fledgling I named Beau. On his maiden flight (or shortly thereafter) he got stuck in a metal chain link fence for an unknown amount of time. By the time I noticed he was in distress, he was weak and dehydrated. Beau was rehabbed by Folke Peterson and owes his life, as do many animals, to the people that work there.

You may be wondering what I am doing to help FPWC, as I am asking people if they would like to donate to FPWC. I mean, Geez, “You have a website and sell all kinds of stuff and even Purple Martin Housing-just donate one of the houses you sell.” Well, if I was independently wealthy, I would. I have wholesale agreements with the people whose Purple Martin Housing I sell but none of them are free. Folke Peterson will have the option to purchase (at wholesale prices-for NO profit) from my site any of the housing I sell. OR since it is their donation money they can purchase it from whatever source they wish. My MAIN interest is helping them to get housing up. Do I have ulterior motives? YES! Because I know that when people see Purple Martins in flight, they will be astounded. Others will then want to get Martin houses up of their own. Hundreds of children will be exposed to these birds. Perhaps some of them will tell Mom and Dad about these birds. Perhaps a few people will be as taken and fall completely in awe of them-as I have.  But I am off on a tangent.

Follows is an exerpt from their site about the history of the center:
“In 1969 Bonnie Findlay and her brother Wallace Findlay founded The Bambi Bird & Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the first wildlife rehabilitation operations in Florida, on 31 acres of undeveloped, Australian pine-wooded land west of State Road 7, (441), and just south of Southern Boulevard in Western Palm Beach County.

Bonnie and Wallace dedicated the rest of their lives to the cause of helping injured, sick, and orphaned wildlife, by nursing them back to health, and releasing them back into their natural habitat.

With little more than their own time, money, and unending compassion, they generously cared for this area’s native wildlife and protected the animals living on their designated sanctuary.

In February of 1997, a devastating fire destroyed the Findlay’s home and two other buildings. Tragically Wallace Findlay perished in this dreadful blaze. Bonnie was diagnosed with cancer soon after and passed away in 2000. But before she died, Bonnie decided to partner with The Folke Peterson Foundation, named after a South Florida dairy farmer who bequeathed more than $25 million dollars of his money to animal causes in 1989.

The causes and dreams of these two animal lovers, separated by time and distance, but with similar visions, came together in 2001 when the Peterson Foundation Trustees and Bambi’s Board of Directors agreed to construct and fund the building of a $2,000,000 facility on the property, while at the same time renaming Bambi as The Folke Peterson Wildlife Center, at the Findlay Sanctuary. The original board members of the Peterson Foundation, including Chairman Don Champion, Frank and Emily Van Vliet, Howard Usher, Rick Kornmeier and Sue Shearouse were instrumental in crystallizing this joint vision into a long range plan for the future that would include the state-of-the-art facility we have today.

“I spent much of my youth feeling lonely and out of place,” Wallace once said. “So when I see sick animals that are injured and scared, I feel compelled to help. My dream is to build a wildlife hospital here, and I know if I keep working towards this goal with purpose and dignity, it will come to pass.”

Through the dedication and hard work of countless people, both past and present, that dream is being fulfilled.

With the Findlays’ and Folke Peterson’s hopes for the future in our minds and hearts, we proudly carry on the work of saving wildlife, educating the public and preparing to ultimately become a teaching hospital for current and future wildlife veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitation professionals.”

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin/

Rehab Facility Quest for Martin Housing

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Last season when I had a fledgling martin that had been injured I brought him to Folke Peterson Wildlife Center. The fledgling was cared for and I was allowed to return the fledgling to my colony for release back to its natal site. One of the veterinarians there related to me that her parents had been Purple Martin Landlords and when the director of FPWC told me of their interest in putting up housing I was thrilled to offer whatever help I could. I will be monitoring their future site weekly as well as teaching their staff on how to manage their colony (including S&S control). Also I will ensure that all entrances are SREH.

So, on behalf of Folke Peterson,  if anyone wants to join me in helping Folke Peterson obtain housing for Martins, we would be grateful for your help.

If you would like to donate unwanted used housing that can be rehabilitated,
donate new housing,
or spare funds
Please, I ask that you donate any money directly to FPWC.

You can call FPWC at: 1-561-793-BIRD (2473) Make sure you tell them that your donation is for the Purple Martin project as they are a 501 (c)(3) not for profit, tax-exempt organization and they rely on donations for all aspects of their operations.

Checks can be mailed directly to them at:
Folke Peterson Wildlife Center
10948 Acme Road
Wellington, Florida 33414

Just write:“Purple Martin Project” on your check to make sure that the funds are allocated correctly.

This high profile facility is often in the news for its help with local wildlife issues and gives classes (free of charge) to 3 or 4 groups weekly with up to 60 children per group. They could do great things for the cause of Purple Martins in the South Florida area by educating the public on our beloved bird; As Florida’s housing boom of the last decades has NOT included housing for Martins.

Thank you,
Susan Halpin

Here is a link to the FPWC site :

“FPWC Mission Statement

The Folke Peterson Wildlife Center (FPWC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization licensed to provide care for sick, injured and orphaned native Florida wildlife. Our primary goal is to return healthy, rehabilitated animals to their natural habitat as soon as possible. Unreleasable animals are sometimes used as ambassadors for their species in our public education programs promoting tolerance and appreciation of wildlife.

Our ultimate goal is to become one of a handful of wildlife veterinary teaching hospitals in the country.

As we are not government funded, we rely on donations”

May 18, 2008

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

No sign of Beau today, but then again it is very difficult to tell them apart. Actually none of the parents and fledglings came around today. There is a ton of smoke from brush fires in the area that made the air thick and hazy. I wonder if that decreases bugs and thus makes it harder to feed? The busiest activity was in the AM with several SY males laying claim to the now empty gourds that the babies fledged from. I see no new nesting and I think that’s about it as far my colony goes.

Natural gourd #8 which had 3 eggs has hatched. The parents are busy with the ins and outs of feeding young. 2 gourds are ready to fledge and that will be the next buzz of activity.

On a business note: I have done a few Purple Martin comic strips. I think they are funny…you be the judge. Check them out at the photo gallery. Click on the photos link to the right.

May 17, 2008

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

the release of BeauThe sun broke over the horizon none too soon. Waiting till 9AM was the hardest part. I drove to the Folke Peterson Wildlife Center and Faith (their Veterinary Technician) brought Beau out to me. He was beautiful and looked so much more grown up. His little baby beak looked like that of an adult. The only way I could tell that he wasn’t, was his stumpy fledgling tail. Of course, the deep notch would develop during his maiden molt. I drove home with him very calm and quiet in the animal carrier. When I got him home, as soon as I took him out of the car, you could hear the Purple Martins chirruping in the back. He heard it too and called out with a big birds voice. My heart was racing. I am sure his was too. As I rounded the corner to the back yard he started to call out continuously which made all the Martins fly up and circle, as if they were looking about for the wayward fledgling. Eventually they settled back down on the housing and I sat the carrier within 30 or so feet of it. I removed the towels from the carrier so that he could see around. He patiently just sat there looking alternatively at me then at the other Martins perched on the housing. I wondered what goes through a little bird brain at a time like this. I didn’t want to torture him any further. I quickly opened the door and he sat on my finger only a moment before he flew off towards the housing. He veered off when all the other Martins flew up to meet him. He was greeted with a customary razing by the older birds. He darted, he turned, he gained altitude and he flew off to the south with 5  or so birds in hot pursuit. He came back to circle the housing a few times with a handful of Martins flying in circles along with him. No longer harassing, they all just flew about in their usual joyful, easy way. And my heart felt the same way. Light and free and happy. Little Beau…my prayers are for you to achieve the independence and skills you will need to be part of the circle of life. If your future includes returning to my site, all the more wonderful. Have fun in Brazil, little Beau!!!

May 16, 2008

Friday, May 16th, 2008

beau head shotThe trials and tribulations of being an overly obsessed Purple Martin Landlord. Hmmm, I am sure that this whole ordeal has shaved a few years off my life. BUT all is well that ends well. Let me start from the beginning of the day.

AM: I called the Folke Peterson Wildlife Center. I asked to speak to “anyone” as all the times I have called regarding the fledgling, I spoke with the receptionist only.

They transferred me to the Executive Director, Heather Landstrom. We had a nice long talk. She told me that she had received a few emails in regards to the Purple Martin. She had just had a meeting with the Veterinarian and wanted to be kept apprised of his situation. She was told that he had come to the center dehydrated and underweight. That he was doing well and they wanted to flight test him sometime early next week. I agreed that him being flight tested was a great idea and I was wholeheartedly behind that idea. As soon as he passed his flight test, he would be released ASAP, preferably at his natal site. I was THRILLED. I told her all about how fearless Purple Martins can be of humans. That for hundreds of years, these birds have nested almost exclusively in man-made housing. That these birds thrive within close proximity to human activity. How Indians would put gourds up for Purple Martins and benefit from a mutual symbiotic relationship. She was very cordial and showed great interest in Purple Martins and little Beau.  I was reassured that I could call on her personally and would be kept in the loop of any and all developments in Beau’s care and release.

PM: I received a call from Dr.Dacia Oprisanu. She told me that a flight cage became available and that they had just flight tested the young martin. AND that he FLEW!! I was so happy and excited. She even told me that I could pick him up today to release him at his natal colony site. (HOME!)  I didn’t think today was a good idea as most of the martins were already off feeding for the afternoon. The parents that are actively feeding are here, of course, but I felt that an early AM release would be perfect. Activity here is always busiest from sunrise till about 11, then it tapers off to a ghost town till about 4 pm or so.

So, that’s what today brought. Answered prayers and hope for the future of a little bird named Beau.

May 15, 2008

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

I am so upset. I called for another update on Beau. No change, “doing very well.” 

 I asked as to why is he not being released. The receptionist said that there was something wrong with him as he “Does not display the normal fear a bird should have” and that he may be released the end of NEXT WEEK!!!!!!!!
I am in tears and so upset. I asked to speak with the vet-no she is busy. I asked to speak with a tech-no, busy. The receptionist listened patiently while I went through the whole thing about Native Americans putting up gourds for these birds, that this side of the Rockies they just don’t nest in natural cavities, that us landlords do nest checks and that I did nest checks on these birds every 3-5 days WITHOUT fail, that this birds mother would sit on the nest while I did nest checks before they even hatched. That without his group to teach him what he needs to know his chances are slim.

I am so upset. I don’t even know what to do. My hands are shaking and all I can think is that bringing Beau to this rehab facility was the biggest mistake I could have made. 

If I go there and ask to speak to a supervisor/vet, I know I will be looked at as a kook and my cause will not be helped. I am doing some serious prayers. Praying that God open their eyes to another opinion; that he continue to gain strength and endurance in his captivity despite his geographic limitations so that he can survive without his family when he is freed.

I ask that you all pray too…

May 14, 2008

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Another call to the rehabber this Am provided little info other than the scripted, “very well” and nothing is broken. I asked again when he was going to be released; I think it would be good to release him here where there are other martins around, maybe he can hook up with his family. They said he was being kept for “observation” and that when he was brought in he was only dehydrated. Also, that they are feeding him and he is eating well.

He fledged and got stuck in the fence on the 7th PM. (at 30 days old)
I took him to the rehabber early in the AM of the 9th.
So he has been there 6 days.
I used to be a vet tech before I went back to school to get my RN. I have a realistic view of both MD’s and DVM’s. I know that vet’s know alot about animals. But knowing about animal MEDICINE does not mean you know about Purple Martins. I don’t want to sound like a know it all, I just feel that the more time he spends there, the less his chances will be to learn what he needs to know to be a Purple Martin. These birds are so communal and him learning how to eat crickets isn’t going to help him eat while he’s flying to Brazil.

If I could speak to someone other than the receptionist, I know this could be cleared up, toot sweet. She’s a nice lady, don’t get me wrong but it’s like playing a game of telephone. The vet tells the tech, the tech tells the receptionist, the receptionist tells me…who knows what the real deal is.