Posts Tagged ‘fledge’

May 20, 2008

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Another nest is out and about! I was out with my 2 1/2 year old son. We were walking in the yard and I hear the alarm. Flying low WITHOUT any martin in his talons is a hawk flying away from the housing. Every Martin was in high alert mode. I have never seen so many calling in alarm so loudly; Even with the other attacks I have witnessed. I am sure it had to do with the 14 or so baby martins just learning to fly. All the birds were super vigilant and chased the hawk to a tree across the street. The screaming alerts continued for about 3 minutes until the hawk finally just flew off, in disgust down the street.

The martins seemed to be particularly interested with a very high, sparse pine about 100 yards from the housing, in a neighbors yard. Maybe some are roosting there tonight.

I posted some Purple Martin cartoons on my gallery site. Feel free to check it out.

May 19, 2008

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Another fledge day has come for 9 little martins. An unporched natural horizontal gourd and a 6×12 compartment in the S&K barn were the lucky winners of the day. The most comical part of fledge day (for me) is watching the parents try to round the babies up back into the proper room. Several of the babies found alternate sleeping arrangements in one of the empty gourds on the rack which has a porch. A few made it in the unporched gourd after a few failed attempts, with much wiggling and squirming. All in all, a wonderful day watching the fledglings take a turn flying about.

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 11,2008

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Nest check done-Finally! Tally as follows:

Total eggs laid to date: 72

Total eggs hatched to date: 59

Eggs still incubating: 6

Eggs lost: 7

Not bad at all!

Several nests are due to fledge in about a week. This may well be the last nest check in the house until those babies are airborne. I treated all nests with sevin as I had noticed, Beau had a few mites on him. Not many at all, and I did not see any on the nest check.

I almost had an aneurysm trying to raise the house up. The winds are gusting quite a bit and I had to get my spouse to help me raise the pole. The one pole has developed a slight bend and there is a portion that is very hard to raise. Once you get past that part, its smooth sailing. Regardless, next year I will be getting a new pole. He doesn’t know it yet.

May 7, 2008

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

mommy and babiesWhat a gloriously happy and melancholy day. Today was Fledge day for a bunch of Purple Martins. A few had ventured out yesterday but the rest (total of 15) braved the big world today. It was quite an experience. The activity level was over the roof. Birds .swooping and chirping. Babies flying to and from trees, back and forth. Squabbles breaking out as the fledgelings kept trying to investigate compartments with their new found freedom from the gourds. I watched and it occurred to me that many of these birds would fall prey to some tragic fate. Food for some predator. Perhaps to green to survive such a dangerous world. I read an article of how somewhere in South America the martins are viewed by some as pests and were driven off by “air horns and an unidentified pesticide”. My heart broke.

At sunset, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a martin fledgling on our chain link fence. I had seen it there earlier and now it was fluttering wildly. I finally realized that its foot was stuck in the fence. It was hanging upside down flapping about and I ran out to see. Thankfully no hawk had seen it there. It would have been an easy meal. I ran up to it and when I was within a foot it dropped to the ground. It flapped about and was unable to fly. Perhaps just too weak from not having eaten. Its legs appeared undamaged. More importantly, its wings seemed OK. I prepared an empty gourd in a cage in our garage. I will evaluate it in the AM and hopefully there is nothing broken.  It looked at me quite curiously, with a tilt to its head. First one way then the other. I fed it half a dozen dried crickets and about a dozen mealworms. It gobbled up its meal with a big bird appetite. Finally it snuggled in the gourd, familiar and safe. To dream of fat dragonflies and a calm, clear, blue skies.

May 06, 2008

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

baby purple martinsFledge day! Several fledglings from one of my Troyer horizontal gourds fledged today. At least one from a Combo plus gourd. You can tell they are learning the ropes as the older birds are flying around after them with the parents flying protectively close. It really is a wonderful thing to watch. Looking so grown up. Hard to tell the difference without a close look at the tail. The mom and the fledglings call back and forth with a course “chew chew” like sound. Not like the musical “twew” that the adults use. At least that’s how it sounds to me.

I was up late trying to post a short video on YouTube on how to do a basic nest check. I am sure many will criticize my nest check but the point is. You do it the way it works for you. Its more important to do the nest check than to follow some anal rule on how to do it. Kinda like washing a car. There is no right way (unless you are Martha Stewart) Just getting it done makes a big difference. I just hope that maybe a few people that may have been holding back see it and think, “Hay, that wasn’t so difficult. I can do that.” And then they do it. Down the line it will help a Martin out. And THAT is what counts!

May 3, 2008

Saturday, May 3rd, 2008

Well, the big day came and everyone is holding tight. No babies trying to fly just yet. They are flapping up a storm in their gourds though. Poking their little heads out. But no brave daredevils just yet.

I continue to witness the most peculiar behaviour from the parents of several nests. They fly over to the neighbors yard and appear to be “eating” something in the grass. They fly a few feet in the air then quickly land on something…pecking at it. Then fly up to the nests and feed “it” to their young. I thought perhaps they are loading the babies up with small rocks/grit to help them digest food. But I continue to see this time after time. Usually one will start then 5 or 6 others will follow suit and do the same. Always in the same section of the neighbors yard. From what I can see of the yard, it is fairly well covered with wild grasses. I am perplexed!!!

May 2, 2008

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

2 hawks made their presence known. The martins are on their toes as 15 babies are constantly sticking their heads out. Tomorrow is the official day. The earliest that the Martins can fledge from nest 1,2 and 10. They are noisy and on nest cam they are a curious sort. A comical bunch to watch. One will be napping, one preening, one or two at the entrance, another pecking at the camera. Very cute to watch. Hard to imagine how tiny they were 25 days ago.

Another pair seems to have taken up residence in the gourd that was abandoned. Hopefully that will end well. The ASY male sleeping on the porch is holding his own. I am running the pool till about 12:30 at night to mask any noise the birds make. Hopefully that is keeping the martins from becoming the owl dinner hot spot of Loxahatchee. Of course, my pool guy keeps changing it…humpf.

April 30, 2008

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Fledging time is close at hand. I have noticed a change in the behaviour of the 3 nests that are due to fledge on May 3rd. First off, the parents have cut down on their bringing food to the nests. They are gone longer and are less…frantic about bringing food. Secondly, there is a steady stream of Martins that come to the entrance of the gourds. They peek in and appear to be ‘talking’ to the young inside. I have already stepped up my walk-unders and hawk patrols. I also will not do any further nest checks on the gourd rack until the 3 nests have fledged. The house is overdue for a check.

My Owls are incubating, I believe. The male now sits outside the nest box and I assume the female is within. I will keep my hat on when I am out there. I here that they can get quite protective…