Posts Tagged ‘fledgeling’

Purple Martin Released

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

I was torn between relief and despair when I found out on Aug 26 that the last remaining purple martin at the Busch Wildlife Center was released at some point.

I had forwarded some information to the folks at Busch Wildlife Center regarding some of the latest, cutting edge information on the releasing of rehabilitated fledgelings. It was on the post Update On Late Nest Martins at Rehabber. In short, the preliminary data highlighted the dismal survival rate of purple martins released without benefit of the post fledging instruction period given by the parent purple martins. The same info also pointed out a potential revolutionary approach to their release. Last year 3 martins were released AFTER being taught (in a flight cage) how to catch flying insects and 1 of the 3 returned to the natal colony this year. This information is groundbreaking and could give new hope to fledgling purple martins released after rehabilitation.
I am unsure if this martin that was released had the benefit of being “taught” the basic survival skill of feeding or even if it was released with other martins which is what is recommended by the PMCA.

I do know that if the bird was released without any other purple martins around that it is dead. Purple Martins, unlike some birds, seem to require a period of post fledgeing instruction

As of this time, I have not received any reply to my email to Busch Wildlife .

On another birding note, a large group of about 15+ nighthawks was moving south bound through the area. Tons of barn swallows feeding in the orange groves nearby also. Fall migration is in full swing.

Davie Florida Roost- MARTIN DOWN!!!

Saturday, June 13th, 2009
Davie FLORIDA Premigratory Roost

Davie FLORIDA Premigratory Roost

Today has to be one of the highlights in my short yet thrilling experiences as a Purple Martin Landlord. Tonight at 7pm my husband and 2 young boys took me to the RaceTrac gas station on Davie Road in Davie, Fl. It was the most spectacular thing I have ever seen. And to think that this roost is SMALL!!! Photos can not do it justice. I tried taking photos and I felt like I was trying to photograph the Grand Canyon with a Polaroid. I can only wonder the splendor of a large roost like those in Texas, Louisiana or Pennsylvania. My husband took a guess and says somewhere around 5,000 birds or so. In a photo I took I counted 200 martins in that small area alone. And the sky was covered with them. I highly encourage any local birders to check out this most amazing show.

On a sad note, as I walked about before the martins came in force I noticed the ground under the trees that the martins are roosting in, was littered with dead martins in various stages of consumption. Piles of feathers, martins with heads chewed off, wings and other bits and pieces covered the grass. I was aghast and at first I assumed that Owls were arriving at night to feast on the martins. That may well be the case but then my husband pointed out the real culprit. A large raccoon scampered across the parking lot and climbed the first tree. It became quite apparent that the raccoons are having a nightly banquet of bird. Of course they don’t have the decency to finish one birds before killing another. I walked from bird corpse to bird corpse wondering what I could do…trust me, I had some crazy thoughts.

As I walked about taking photos I noticed one of the “corpses” was looking back at me. Laying on its back with his head turned so he could see me, a fledgling Purple Martin lay moving his short feet in a bicycle riding fashion. I approached slowly and thought it would right itself in time to fly off, but it did not. I picked him up and gave him a look over. A perfectly alert little HY purple martin. His eyes are sharp and his temper was quick but when I tested his wings he did not seem to even want to flap them. Weak or injured he is now resting comfortably in a dark box with a crop full of mealworms and scrambled eggs. I will take him to Folke Peterson Wildlife Center in the AM to be checked out. If all looks good I hope to return him to the roost to join the other martins.

It is late and my heart is happy so off to sleep. I will post more pictures of the roost in an upcoming blog entry. So check back soon!

First Fledgelings Moving On

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

The first wave of fledglings has apparently moved on. After some 60 purple martins successfully fledged they had been returning (for the most part) every night to sleep. Today I noticed a much smaller group before sunset on the gourd racks and they took off as a unit to parts unknown. They did not return tonight. I have been noticing that the martins have been acting more and more flighty. Probably due to the high number of inexperienced youngsters that seem to be more nervous than their older more seasoned counterparts. As soon as I walk outside they fly off in a large group only to settle for a moment before flying off again. They actually seem to enjoy their new found freedom in the air and my heart lifts up with them every time they take off.

After Purple Martins fledge, the parents begin taking them to “assembly areas” where they roost at night. The birds eventually move to the premigratory roosts or staging areas which serve as a final stop over before the birds begin their migration to South America.

I must admit though, my sadness that this move away from “home”, makes me sad. The season is another step closer to being over in the south. Soon it will be time to visit the only premigratory roost I know of in Davie. Though a few more babies have been added to the count almost all the other nests are way to close to fledging to check. After those birds fledge my season will be basically over.

For those of you with new sites, or those that do not have a colony yet. NOW is the time to play dawnsong and keep your housing up. The youngsters are making the rounds and are visiting housing. If your housing is situated correctly and is attractive to the martins they will return. Remember that though my birds will return to my yard, the purple martins that fledged from my colony will mostly disburse to other locations.

A partial nest check is over due and I will try for either June 6 or this weekend to check the numbered rack and the aluminum house. As I mentioned there are too many nests approaching fledging age to check the lettered rack. After the problem with wet nests I am understandably nervous of what is in store.  but I know in my heart that I have done my part and next year I will again strive to do more.

Remember, I will be doing a Purple Martin Presentation at Folke Peterson Nature Center on Wednesday June 17 at 7 pm. I hope to see you there!

©2009 S.Halpin/

May 8, 2008

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

BeauAM: My initial assessment may have been mistaken. Upon further examination the little fledgeling appears to have some damage to his right wing. It is hard and larger in the first joint that the other wing. He also carries it lower than the other wing. Whether or not the damage is fresh or old, I can not say. He is eating some crickets that I offer and he is in a large open container outside within view of the housing but gives no chirps to call his parents or other martins. I am torn. He could easily jump out but does not try. Otherwise his eyes are alert and he looks around but gives no efforts to eat the live crickets that scurry around him.

Beau-note its right wingPM: “Beau” is being fed all day- live crickets. He still has not tried to jump out or eat of his own volition. Though he opens his mouth to accept 3 or so crickets at one time. I tried to call a number that I had for a rehabber with no answer. Tomorrow I will see how he is and try to contact the rehabber again. For the night I put him back in an old canary cage with an unused natural gourd to spend the night.

Oh, I cannot describe the disgust at handling live (or dead for that matter) BUGS! eww!

Tomorrow I will post pics of the little guy (or girl)