Posts Tagged ‘fledglings’

Mockingbirds Return

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Some time ago I blogged about the unfortunate mockingbird nest that was discovered by the neighborhood crows. The nest was picked clean by a large grim reaper of the bird world, the American Crow. I was sad as the mockers had given up a small roebelenii palm a foot off my pool deck, that they nested in twice last year for a small bush in the neighbors cat infested, unprotected yard. Perhaps they learned their lesson. Perhaps it is a different pair, but they have a young fledgling making his way out of another nest in a Roebelenii palm just outside my front door. They go berserk when my dog goes out the door for his “work” but are nonplussed by me going outside to check on them. As I went outside the door one morning I heard the parents giving their little worried call to the fledgling. The parents were up on the rain gutter looking down at me. It sounds like a soft short moan. Not an alert call at all. I looked around and there in the palm a foot from my head was the baby. Looking at me. I got my camera and took some pics of the little guy and remembered the mockingbirds of my youth and how they would have scalped me in short order if I had ever wandered so close to their baby. I am sure they know that I am a protector not a threat.

A recent study by the University of Florida that was reported in the  Proceedings Of The National Academy of Sciences showed that the mockingbirds DO recognize individual people, after as little as two encounters! Read about the study here. My thoughts of course ALWAYS travel back to the Purple Martins and I am sure that the same science can be applied to the martins as well. My only question is when will that ASY male martin STOP dive bombing me? I am starting to have my feelings hurt. Me? A threat?

Stormy Weather

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

The pregnant clouds finally broke their water and the rain has been relentless for the last 3 days. 5 minutes of sunshine then another “contraction” in the form of thunderstorms. I am glad and the birds seem to be handling the frequent downpours well. There is enough pause between and the storms are scattered enough that they are feeding just fine. A nest check is overdue on all racks and if the thunder stays away while the kids are napping, I may try to squeeze one in today.

The earliest of fledglings seem to still be returning to the gourds at night to sleep but it is hard to determine just what is going on. The other night on the nest cam I noticed what seemed to be 3 adults in with the 5 nestlings in Gourd #4. They were all sleeping peacefully but I doubt that was the case when the party crasher arrived.

Contact number for Folke Peterson 561-793-2473

Fledglings & Hawks

Monday, May 18th, 2009

The fledglings are clambering all over the gourd racks and the house causing a ruckus all day long. The rain has been falling on and off for the last 2 days and they seem to be enjoying the it. All it takes is me stepping on to the back patio and I set them off in a slurry of purple. The flock moves en Mass except for the remaining parents that are still feeding nestlings. More than half of the nests have fledged and my season will be starting to wind down shortly.

The Red Shouldered hawk is persistently attacking the colony and I can only assume that it has been successful, though thankfully I have yet to witness a successful attack. Yesterday I witnessed 3 such attempts that set the purple martin off in an alarming cacophony. I am sure that now having said that, I have jinxed myself and come tomorrow morning I will see the blasted hawk plucking a martin right before my eyes. Please knock on wood!

I have had so many “firsts” this year. First snake attack. First dead nestling on the ground. First pair to actually nest in the gourd hanging on the 5 foot shepherds hook. First nest check with my son. First time broadcasting the webcams. Never mind all the milestones and “firsts” with the website and blog. I already am missing my birds and can’t wait to show them again next year what a wonderful place this is to call home.

©2009 S.Halpin/

June 11, 2008

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Tomorrow was supposed to be the big day but I swear I think Natural gourd #8 may have partially or even completely fledged. It seemed late in the day but there were new babies flying about with that harsh cry they use to call to their parents. A back and forth coarse chirp with the parents whistle back.

The business side of things is having some interesting developments. I may be attending the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival in Jan of 2009 as a vendor and speaker. I will keep you updated on that.

On Saturday an article about a Purple Martin premigratory roost is coming out. I spoke with the journalist and I may be mentioned in that also. I will post links to the article as soon as I get it. I plan on going to the roost myself sometime in the next week. It seems like it is a spectacular sight. I can’t fathom 6,000 birds in one spot. I see about 35 at my sight and I am dazzled. I think I may have a religious experience! Perhaps on Sunday I will go. (Happy Fathers Day!) I want to take video and photos of the roost though. I was told that the current estimate is about 6,000 birds at that roost. With more still to come.  Of course, I will post any video of this on my YouTube site.

May 24, 2008

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Rain 3 days in a row…it’s a blessing! The martins are doing wonderfully. 2 of the last 3 nests that have fledged are still returning to the housing at night. After I physically removed a fledgling from a compartment with younger nestlings-I have not noticed any more of this type of shenanigans. 5 more nests are due to fledge on the 27 through the 30th. So a nest check needs to be done soon. Like tomorrow! I’ll need to bring some string so I can pull out the plug for the entrance. I leave them plugged for a minute after raising the house back up. As the one nest is pretty close and I wouldn’t want to scare them out prematurely. It has been too long since I did a check on the gourd rack. Between getting my website ready for the newspaper article, my youngest going to the ER (via AMBULANCE-he’s OK), and the rain…I have been a frazzled mess!

I hope you check out the new link I put in the blog-roll. It takes you to the Palm Beach post video and article that they did on my site. Other than a terrible hair day caught on video, its pretty good.

I have not been able to distinguish Beau around my colony. It’s a shame he wasn’t banded as research in rehabbed martins is so sparse. I still think about him and I have wondered if the occasional lone martin sleeping in his old gourd is him. I have seen either a HY, female or SY male sleeping in that gourd a few times. The grainy resolution of the black and white nest cam makes it impossible to determine exactly what age bird it is. Only that it is NOT all purple.

Why do we call them purple martins? They are not purple. It drives me nuts. When I paint them I always get flustered getting the color right. I go for the deepest and richest of blues. It does seem confusing to paint a purple martin blue but in all the pictures I have taken, I still have not seen any purple. Now I am rambling. It’s almost midnight…so good night.