Posts Tagged ‘gourd’

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!!!

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…

April 27, 2008

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

A male Starling haunting my Martin’s housing was the beginning of bad omens. A hawk attack this AM heralded more doom. A failed and abandoned nest of 6 eggs is now being investigated by occasional Martins. The Starling flew off with one of the eggs in his yellow beak. I had been watching the gourd hoping beyond hope that maybe I just added the days wrong and just didn’t see the pair returning. Whatever happened to the pair, it’s not happening in that gourd. Probably a hawk got the female. I remember when I checked the nest there was a green leaf on the eggs, like she was going to return shortly. But alas her eggs grew cold and dead and those 6 little babies followed their mommy up to the big bird house in the sky… What a downer.

Then the ASY male. Still sleeping on his porch. Oy, my ulcer…

April 25, 2008

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The second half of the nest check was done. Several nests being incubated, several fresh babies. The male ASY in a 6×6 compartment has taken to sleeping on the porch. Much to my dismay. With 5 eggs being incubated in the compartment, they are not taking any chances on breaking one of the eggs. I just hope he doesn’t get eaten by an Owl. When those eggs hatch it will be a source of much worry as any predator will be able to reach in easily and take the babies out. I will have to think of something I can do to better protect the male and his babies.

One thing is for sure. Next year all compartments will be 6×12, All gourds will be tunneled and ALL will have SREH. No round holes, even on my troyers which were all first to be claimed with the round entrances and tail prop.

Oh… and a pole with a winch!!! Now all I have to do is pick 6 numbers…

 On a sad  note, the gourd with 6 eggs that were over due to hatch, appears to have been abandoned.

Woodpecker in the Trap! April 14, 2008

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Another innocent catch of my home made Nest Box Repeating Trap!!! A red bellied woodpecker must have decided to check it out as the flicker box is home to a pair of Screech owls. It had shown much interest in the Owls nest box but the owls would have nothing to do with such an intrusion. So there it was, very mad and very noisy. My mockingbirds, whose nest is about 2 yards away from the trap, were not happy and calling out in protest. Of course I went straight out and released it…a few nips with a woodpeckers bill. That was a first! At least I got a picture before we parted ways.

My martins seem happy. We have been sick in the house so I haven’t been on the patio too much. Its hard to get an accurate count. It seems as though there has been a slight musical nests that has taken place. My only hope is that it is due to the Martins simply changing their minds; not due to hawk attacks. A ASY pair that had built a nest in my gourd on a shepherds hook is no longer there. It is now occupied by a lone SY male who is very vocal in trying to attract a mate. It may prove difficult as he is only about 4 1/2 feet off the ground and about 60 feet from the main housing.

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

Nest Check for April 12, 2008

Saturday, April 12th, 2008

Another nest check today. Sometimes I don’t know if I do nest checks to count eggs, determine dates of hatch and all that….or just because I want to play with my birds. I checked my babies, all 20 are doing fine. And 26 eggs with a few nests that aren’t done laying. A few nests that appear complete and still seeing nest building going on.

I watched a female (SY) in a natural gourd going back and forth between her gourd and a 6×6 compartment on the house. There are 2 eggs in that nest and both martins were off feeding. Back and forth for about 15 minutes, I was starting to wonder if she was going to disturb the eggs as the compartment has a crescent opening. Thus the eggs have a short distance IF by chance they rolled around in there. I am not crazy about that compartment being so small. I opened up most of the compartments to 6×12 but I didn’t want to make any crazy changes from last year. mistake.

I am already planning next year. Another pole WITH A WINCH! more gourds, all SREH (starling resistant entry holes) and all compartments in the house 6×12.

On a business note, I finished a small circular piece that I am planning on using on my decorative plates. It came out very nice. A purple martin chasing a dragonfly…

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

Nest Check April 9, 2008

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

Nest check finally! Done late in the day, it was met with much protest. I checked all nests 15 eggs in 3 separate nests have all hatched. 1 nest is due to hatch tomorrow. There are another 26 eggs that are in 5 nests. 2 nests are completed and seem ready for eggs. Another few compartments seems to have nests in earlier stages of development.

One again my brave little girl in gourd #2 (a Combo Plus gourd) sat with her 5 precious babies while I did their nest check. I looked and saw them all piled up and smiled as they reached their heads up begging for food. She sat motionless and stayed at her post for the entire time.

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

Hatch Day April 7,2008

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Within the next few days the first lot of 20 eggs is due to hatch. This morning when I looked at the nest that I have on camera, the precious treasure lay hidden under an obviously doting mother. She no longer sat patiently on her eggs, seemingly asleep. she fussed and turned and fiddled and then ate some thing… A piece of egg shell. Finally she moved aside and I could see. The tiny, almost transparent form of a newly hatched Purple Martin. Wiggling next to 4 other eggs, the tiny life squirmed and moved about. Now the fun begins.

Another nest is 1 day ahead of this nest so I can assume that there are other babies. I looked out at the housing and there is a difference. No longer quiet the gourd rack seems to be a buzz. Several other birds are coming to the gourds to peer inside as if they are giving congratulations. The ASY males are sitting above their respective gourds, acting quite protective. Several of the females that have been incubating are sitting with heads peeking out or flying in and out finally free of their self imposed  isolation called incubation. The female on camera is also out and about and I can finally see the baby bird only 4 or so months away from a transoceanic flight.

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

April 3, 2008

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

My Purple Martin housing consists of 2 poles. One with a gourds -4 S&K Combo plus & 4 troyer horizontals. The other pole with a 7 unit S&K ‘barn’ and 3 natural gourds. I have a shepherds hook with a tunneled Bo gourd, a blue bird box and a Flicker house high up in a pine tree. As a testament to S&K products I am happy to announce that almost all available compartments are occupied. The only house that’s empty is the cedar blue bird box. And that is because their haven’t been blue birds in Palm Beach county in about 50 years! All gourds all house compartments ALL taken. I was wondering why it was so calm at “bedtime”. I had assumed that some had moved on to greener pastures but I was mistaken. It’s just that everyone is happy now….until someone else shows up! I May have to put up another pole THIS year. Hmmmmm. Maybe it’s something in the water?

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /

Love a Martin, Kill a Starling

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

I was on the PMCA forum and read a new landlords post about how he loved birds and did not want to have to kill sparrows and starlings. When talking to people that are new to Martins, I get alot of that same…disgust about having to “dispose” of a bird. Anyway,

This was my reply;

It’s hard for alot of people to really understand what being a purple martin landlord is all about.
You can love birds and the end result will be that you will love your (or someone elses) purple martins to death—-literally.
I can understand not wanting to kill starlings and sparrows…(Not how I feel) but I can understand it. The important thing is to not add to someone else’s problem. My point? Maybe having a purple martin house isn’t for you. Because instead of attracting purple martins, you will have a sparrow and starling factory.
I hate turning anyone off to being a landlord but at some point tough love is needed. and at some point you have to take a stand.
My motto is , Being a purple martin landlord is NOT a passive hobby, its an active endeavor.
I hope you can see past the “grislly” stuff and realize that just because something has feathers; doesn’t make it all cute and sweet. Life is tough for martins and bluebirds and woodpeckers and every other native bird that sparrows and starlings kill. My job as a landlord is to keep a promise that Native Americans made to purple martins. The promise was-if you trust me-I’ll take care of you. They trusted us to leave natural cavities and nest solely in our houses (and gourds) and I won’t let them down.
You can still love martins without putting up a martin house.
My 2 cents?…put up a small bird box for 1 pair of whatever, and enjoy. Sell the martin house on ebay.
best of luck, whatever you do.

Love a martin, kill a starling.

Blog Contents Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin /