Posts Tagged ‘Birdcam’

Starlings and Fledgelings and Jumpers, OH MY!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

So much news and I have really been negligent on the blog. My apologies but between helping customers of PurpleMartins-R-Us.com, 2 kids, a busy colony and a landscape project…I have been swamped!

Bad news is the BirdCam has turned out to be a huge disappointment this year. I invested more money and hired a “computer geek” who, in MY opinion, swindled me out of my money. I was very specific with what I wanted my streaming camera to be and instead ended up with what he felt was good enough. But enough said about that…

My landscaping project turned out pretty well. Nothing huge. Just redoing the front of the house which had become a snake haven. I moved 3 cubic yards of large egg rock (that’s about 3 tons worth) over the course of a week and achieved my goal of having the front be presentable. Many thanks to Lawrence over at http://www.butterfliesandwildlife.com/ who gave me some tips and ideas for the fountain. It is a disappearing fountain that recycles water as it flows down a stepped “mini river” of sorts. Though his is much more natural looking and longer, mine was created with basically stuff I already had laying around. A preformed pond liner, pond pump and hardware cloth. I only added the spitter from Lowes and the preformed stepped river portion was on CLEARANCE for $14! My husband admits it came out better than he thought it would. Of course, he is used to my projects…some of which turn out badly.
 


The purple martins are fledging all over the place. I think there are more youngsters flying about today than babies in nests. 2 skinny jumpers were found on the ground from a nest that I am sure the parents abandoned. Perhaps an Owl or Hawk got them. But I placed them in a low hanging gourd with youngsters in it. I could not lower the rack as so many nests were over 20 days old. For those that do not know, once nests are over 20 days old, babies can jump out during nest checks from fright. The PMCA recommends that you block off entrances to those nests that are over 2o days old…some say 22 days old by attaching a rag to a string then pulling out the rag once the housing is back up for a few minutes. Just wait 2 or 3 minutes for them to settle down and then pull the rag out. But since so most of my nest were over 20-24 days old, it just wasn’t possible. So I saw them begging and no one feeding them and watched helplessly until they jumped and gave them some Gatorade before sticking them in the new gourds. Remember, you can read about common purple martin emergencies and what to do at our store site PurpleMartins-R-Us.com.

Starlings took up residence in a flicker box located way to close to my house for the woodpeckers to be interested. But a pair of starlings did. Since no one else wanted the nest box, I let them nest and waited until they were incubating to catch them. I learned something very interesting about them. Once they decided to nest, I was hard pressed to see them both at the same time. They were very quiet, almost as if they knew that I was on to them. I did get a great pic of a starling nest. Very different from a martin nest. Of course, I could have pierced the eggs with a small sharp pin, addled (shook them VIGOROUSLY), or coated them with a thin coat of mineral oil, and let momma starling waste half a season.

Purple Martin Scouts

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Among one of the most dearly held false hoods regarding purple martins, is the one of the infamous “scouts”. Long to be believed as birds sent ahead to gather intelligence, that then return to tell their flock to start migration back North, scouts are really just the first returning birds. Scouts is still the term we use, for these first arrivers and they are always ASY (After Second Year) birds who are more experienced and familiar with the instinctual urge to fly back North to nest. The PMCA (Purple Martin Conservation Association) has the best online tracking tool for landlords that scout reportwant to know how far purple martins are from them. One can see this scout  map at http://www.purplemartin.org/scoutreport/ Another option is to Follow us  on TWITTER. We tweet all kinds of martin related info, pictures from our colony and more. You can also LIKE us on Facebook. Just look for PurpleMartins-R-Us and click “Like”.

Our colony has tons of eggs at a nest check yesterday and even 1 nest with 5 babies. They ranged in age from 3 days old to 1 day old and seem fat and healthy. I am sure these early nests will do well as the weather has been mild and even weekly rain. Though we aren’t getting as much rain as we should, we are not as dry as last year when we had big losses from a drought.

A quick note about our BirdCam. It is up. We do not, at this time, have sound and the nest cams are turned off, so that birds can nest. But it is the best we can do. Webcams are not our forte and this cam has been a huge expense for us. Not knowing what we are doing, we sought the help of PalmBeachGeek to get the one we have online. There is a limit to the number of people that can be watching the cams at any one time, so if it doesn’t work, keep trying. Also if it doesn’t work for you, send us a quick email letting us know what your problem is, what internet explorer you are using (Firefox, Internet Explorer,Chrome) and we will try to improve things as we work out the kinks.

Changes Noticed in Martins Behaviour

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

It may be a sign that the ASY Purple Martins at my site are aware of something. I have not seen any SY birds yet but today the 8-10 birds that I have have been checking in quite often throughout the day. That is a major change as up until now they have been keeping a low profile.

The usual behaviour includes no birds around the housing after 9AM or so. No birds back at all (for the most part) until they are ready for bed. At 6 PM they zoom in without much ceremony at all. But today I have noticed that they are back and forth at the housing. All ASY birds still, but they are peeking in compartments, in and out of gourds, looking at the new Sunset Inn house and all around showing a high level of interest in the housing all day so far.  Even when they are not on the housing I can see them at a distance and here them occasionally. So they are staying closer to home. It will be interesting to see how they act this evening and if this behaviour is just a well deserved break after several weeks of cool weather and gusty breezes that would make their foraging for food a challenge. Perhaps the food is abundant today and they have the resources to keep a closer eye on the housing. Or perhaps there are some SY’s moving in.  Another possibility is that these are new birds moving in and NOT my birds at all. Simply other landlords ASY’s checking up on the neighbors. As you may know, arrival of the younger subadult birds (the SY’s) seems to coincide with nest building and an overall serious tone to the nesting season. These early weeks, prior to the SY’s arrival are much less intense.

Time will tell if which of these scenarios is in fact the case. At any even the frequent visits are a real treat and have perked up my spirits.

On another note, my Live Streaming Birdcam is still online HERE at PurpleMartins-R-Us.com. After 8PM I am working on trying to get the webcam up via http://purplemartinsrus.camstreams.com, an online broadcast site. As I work on the camstreams site I will eventually replace this as the source for my sites Live Birdcam. The previous software has changed its pricing as has become much to costly! Having the Camstreams site will allow me to have the Birdcam be on a site that is not commercial in origin.

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2009: S.Halpin/ PurpleMartins-R-Us.com

A New Friend

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Some people talk about their Purple Martins and area able to tell you certain personality quirks or details that distinguishes one bird from another. I have no such special gift. I can only look at my birds and tell you if it is a male or female Purple Martin and if it is an adult(ASY) or subadult(SY).

So today along with my pair, that I have NO CLUE as to which gourd they are staying in, there is an extra female. I was told by Annie in Wisconsin (Thanks Annie!!!)  what gourd it may be which reminded me that I desperately need to number my gourds. Thank goodness for my fellow Purple Martin Conservation Association “forumites”!

Which reminds me. I wanted to mention to any New Purple Martin enthusiasts that the Purple Martin Conservation Association has an active forum to help those new in the hobby. They are a not for profit organization and a portion of the money they make goes directly to Purple Martin research. They are most worthy of your support. Check out their website, www.purplemartin.org .

I went to the Folke Peterson Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers event this past Saturday. It was called the “Call of the Wild”. I gave the Purple Martin Conservation Associations PowerPoint presentation on Purple Martins. Well, I did AFTER they finally got the computer working! I had to go without ANY slides or pictures for the first 15 minutes or so, after having to start about 15  minutes late due to the technical issues. It started out with a big crowd but the computer issues discouraged some and I ended up with a small but inquisitive group that seemed genuinely interested…or too embarrassed to get up and go!!! Either way, we had a great time and I still hope that the Folke Peterson Wildlife Center will someday get to put up Purple Martin Housing.

So much stuff going on I have had NO time to go visit Joe, my purple martin friend. Some of you have read about him in past Blog entries. I have to admit I have neglected him miserably. I promise that I will visit him soon and update you ASAP. Search for Jose in the search box to the right to read past entries on Joe.

Farewell for now!

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2009: S.Halpin/ PurpleMartins-R-Us.com

Lion Country Safari to put up Purple Martin Housing!!!

Thursday, December 25th, 2008

When I started my business, the whole idea was to convince people to put up housing for Purple Martins. I thought it was tragic the plight of this bird, though NOT endangered, depends on us so heavily for its survival. The housing boom of the last few years seemed to have left Purple Martins in the dust as new, cookie cutter communities with strict HOA’s seems to be placing an emphasis on pristine neighborhoods and frowning on bird poop.

So back to when I started my website, it was mainly to express my love of Purple Martins through my art and show people what a cool, relaxing, family-oriented hobby, being a Purple Martin Landlord can be. Well, the site may have evolved, but I still had the desire to convince others that a close encounter with nature could be right in their own backyard!

Which brings me to Lion Country Safari. My family and I go there pretty regularly. Being only a few minutes away, it is an amazing place to go with the kids and have fun without driving up to Orlando. It’s NOT just a 4 mile drive through preserve with over 900 animals. It’s a carnival meets zoo meets water park. My kids beg to go to “Lion Country Far-Away” all the time and I have always thought to myself, “What a great place for Purple Martins!”

I had called and spoke to a fantastic lady called Brenda Irvine, the Animal Curator at Lion Country Safari and told her what a great location they had for Purple Martins. We met and looked at several great spots that would be great areas to attract Purple Martins. She pitched the idea to the powers that be and Lo and Behold, they decided to purchase an CUEnt 12 unit Purple Martin Gourd rack and 12 Troyer horizontal with SREH tunnels!

They are very excited to help Purple Martins in Florida and I am glad that they decided to help too. Now my Purple Martin babies will have some where to disburse to!

The starlings won’t be a problem with the SREH (Starling Resistant Entrance Holes) but the English House Sparrows (HOSP) may be. I offered to help them with trapping, if needed.

I will keep you all updated on their site!

I wanted to let you all know that I had long term plans to place a web/nest cam on my site. Though the linking in to my site is still in development, I have started a streaming webcam of my site PurpleMartins-R-Us.com. This BirdCam site will eventually (I hope) have LIVE streaming video of my colony site. I will also keep you updated on that.  But check back and I will keep you up to date with that also.

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin/ PurpleMartins-R-Us.com