Posts Tagged ‘nestcam’

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.

FREE Purple Martin Bird House Plans

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Call me a collector but I seem to be collecting quite a number of free purple martin house plans. Thanks to dedicated purple martin landlords such as John Balga and Bob n Jo, and thanks to the Pennsylvania Game Commission, I have put together a small collection of houses that the DIY can build. I even have plans for a gourd rack!

Of course, I am not the handy type so I have NOT made these houses myself. I guess that is why I started PurpleMartins-R-Us. If you are like me and can’t build a birdhouse yourself, check out this large selection of houses and supplies that utilize the latest in purple martin research and innovation. Believe it or not, I did NOT start this business to get rich. I did it so that I can do what I love. If I get rich that is nice but looking at my books, that won’t happen anytime in my lifetime.

So where can you get these plans? Go to the Free plans page HERE and enjoy!

If you know of any other FREE house plans for purple martin houses, please let me know. And please let me know how the house you build turns out. I would love to see it.

P.S. Tonight is the first night that all the fledglings have not returned at night to sleep in the Nestcam! Only one in there tonight. My season is winding down.

Roost Makes News

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

The Broward edition of the Miami Herald ran the story on the Davie roost today. You can read the article HERE.

We drove down to the roost and did not see any martins but we were a tad early so it is hard to say if the roost has, in fact disbanded. It is just about time for the birds to move out but I can not say for sure. My 2 kids were quite tired and I could not bare to have them sit in the car for another 30 minutes to see if the martins would show up. I will have to depend on any of you that may life closer to update me and the blog as to the roosts status.

The story was very nice and a special thank you to the journalist, Julie Levin, who was so patient waiting to see “my” purple martins. Remember, there are photos of the roost at my photo gallery and there is also a video of the roost that is quite nice.

The babies on the nestcam have officially all fledged and the gourd was empty for most of the day. They are sleeping in the gourd tonight though. Looking so big and grown up. Thankfully all the babies appear nice, fat and healthy. Unlike some issues that seem to be going on up North our temperatures, though hot are not too bad and the rain is enough to cool things down plus keep the bugs abundant.

Purple Martin Emergencies-New ONLINE info source!

Many northern landlords are having serious issues with very abnormal low temps and landlords are reporting nest failures and dead babies by the dozens. Early jumpers due to the extreme heat in Texas has been reported and supplemental feedings can save lives. For those with babies that need care, our parent site, www.PurpleMartins-R-Us.com has a page dedicated to Emergencies INCLUDING how to give food and fluids to purple martins, contact info for Wildlife Rehabilitators and more. Feel free to check this information out.

©2009 PurpleMartinArt.com

Purple Martin: CSI

Sunday, May 31st, 2009

I have prided myself in the attention I give my birds. Yes, I know, the Purple Martins are not truly mine but the care I lavish on them is appreciated by them. The trust they show me as I hoist the gourd racks up or down and they sit and wait patiently with bugs in their mouths. Waiting to take them into their gourds to feed hungry nestlings. Imagine my chagrin when over the past week or so an ASY male is dive bombing my head relentlessly. Within inches he strafes my head to the point where I fear for my life…or at least my eyesight. Going to the mailbox which is at the opposite side of a acre + lot even rankles him. What could have upset him so much to the point of this hatred he apparently has for me? Forever the OCD’er that I am, I have thought of a few scenarios.

First, I think this male may be the same male from the natural gourd that was eaten by the red corn snake several weeks ago. There are 2 new nests with nestlings that hatched in the last week and the male may well be one of those daddy’s. Could the ASY male that lost his family just be blaming me for his misfortune? The male survived that attack and definitely saw me removing both the snake and the one last remaining dead nestling from that gourd. Could he be associating the tragedy with me as I was the last one seen at the scene of the crime?

Perhaps it is a totally different male from one of the other new nests. There is a new nest of 5 eggs that on the last nest check (May 28) I found one of the eggs had been broken. Could have been the work of a clumsy fledgling. They seem to be going in and out of nest indiscriminately and getting their tails beat in the process. Maybe the male saw me remove this broken egg from the nest? I have heard that one should shield any dead young and/or eggs from the sight of other martins so to not upset them. Though I generally try to do this, there are times when I am sure some birds may see what is going on.

In short, I am not sure what to do other than wear protective head gear and eyewear whenever I am outside. Though I doubt there is any available treatment for my wounded pride.
Nestcam update. The 5 nestlings on the Nestcam are due to fledge as early as June 2. You can watch them leave gourd #4 on the Colonycam. After they fledge I will move the camera to a gourd on the lettered rack and at that time I may move the main Colonycam so that the Sunset Inn house and lettered rack are in view.


Nestcheck for 5/28

Young in nests remaining:  46

Eggs in nests remaining:   27

Total fledged to date:  66

©2009 S.Halpin/PurpleMartinArt.com

Where is the Rain?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

2 days of pregnant clouds and not a drop of water. The neighborhood ponds are drying up and the wetlands at some of the areas of Grassy Waters Preserve look more like scrub land than swamp. For hours the sky was black and thunder could be heard in the distance. The clouds swirled but not a drop fell here.

 It seems like there has been a bustle of morning hour activity at the purple martin housing ever since the babies have started fledging last week. I am not sure if some of the activity is from other area colonies or my own purple martins. They swoop in with zest and proceed to make themselves quite the nuisance. Peeking in compartments, being scolded fiercely by protective parents, vocal and joyful in both song and flight they are everything that is fun to watch about purple martins. Though a bit mischievous, I have witnessed no serious fighting.

The nestlings on the nestcamare big and ready to go at any time. They are busy flapping about in the gourd, stretching and preening their new flight feathers. Preparing themselves for a maiden flight. There is always at least one with its head looking out the front of the gourd and the others stuck inside looking about or napping. Today they are 26 days old and they are officially old enough to fledge at any moment. The mother comes to the opening and perches for some time often bringing no food, which signals that they are indeed ready. The parents will decrease feeding as fledging approaches. This technique serves 2 purposes. First, it decreases the attractiveness of the nest with its “room service” so that the babies will want to come out to feed. Secondly, to decrease their weight which can be more than an adults. Talk about baby fat! Try getting airborne with all that extra weight though.

 I am still postponing nestchecks on this rack due to the amount of babies ready to fledge and I have been unable to do a nestcheck on the other 2 units due to the thunder.

European Starling fledglings have come around, chaperoned by an adult. One was as close as a foot from the repeating S&S nestbox trap but never landed on the trap itself. Of course I was seriously disappointed and it reminded me that I must go back to Green Cay Nature Center to further observe the gourd rack there. My terrible luck with trapping this year along with the population explosion locally, has brought me to a new level of sadness for our native birds.

Ratatouille?

Friday, April 17th, 2009

 When I received an email from Tim M. regarding the large rat looking object on gourd #11, I had to admit it looked odd. For the people who look in on my colony, to see the large black ‘thing’ clinging to the side of the gourd, I apologize if I frightened any of you. It does look like a rat hanging on the side but alas it is just a few socks with rocks inside. The added weight of the web camera housing had the gourd leaning over to the side. Not that the Purple Martins minded this at all. BUT the eggs and now nestlings, kept settling just below camera view. Every time I did a nest check I had to move the nest over so that the nestcamcaught a better view of the action. I had tried multiple times to adjust the camera, to no avail. Finally, at my wits end, I zip tied the rocks as a counter weight the gourd. With one egg left in the gourd I hope to catch a better view of the babies now that they are being fed.

 I am not sure about the remaining egg on the nestcam. Whether or not it will eventually hatch. I had counted 4 eggs multiple times on previous nest checks. And though it is probably a case of me missing the 5th egg (several times) it could also be an egg that it was dumped by another female. Well, it could happen. Though eggs can hatch up to 48 hours apart, the window is closing fast and if the egg has not hatched by the morning, I am afraid its chances are slim. Mom and dad are busy feeding the 4 nestlings, so incubation of the final egg is dwindling. After the pipping egg death, I am hesitant to handle the egg. If it is still unhatched in another day I will look at it closer.

The male ASY martin is being very enthusiastic about feeding his nestlings. I watched him bring in a small dragonfly that appeared way to large for the little nestling and try for some time to stuff it down one of the babies. The little nestling had wings sticking out of his mouth and I watched as he was apparently trying to pull the wings off of it. It was comical but this sort of thing can be dangerous.

 

©2009 S.Halpin/PurpleMartinArt.com


Todays nest check are as follows:

Total eggs:  61            Total young:   32             Total nests:   22 

The numbered gourd rack (the birdcam) is now officially 100% occupied with eggs and/or young.

Another nest check will be done Sunday afternoon.

Much A-do About Starlings

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Purple Martin Conservation Associations online forum is a virtual treasure trove of material for me at times. I simply love the back and forth banter of many of the different forums that I am a member of. 

 Today Courtney asked what she should tell her neighbors who may ask about the repeating nest trap in the backyard. It is a fabulous question!

It is a hard pill for many to take- that the European Starlings and English House Sparrows that we catch are usually euthanized. People like things in a tidy, neat, hermetically sealed container. Like the chicken in the supermarket. I mean really, how many of us would become vegetarians if we had to kill a chicken ourselves? Well, I would ask my husband to do it but not everyone would go through the very real and gruesome task. What about beef and pork? I know that would definitely be off our menu-husband or not. SO why do people get so upset about S&S/sparrows and starlings? It is a difficult question.

You can take 2 approaches when the question comes up. You can be honest and make enemies (sometimes) or give a neat, tidy, hermetically sealed answer and walk away laughing every time. Worst case scenario is the neighbors will think you are a little weird.

So here are the

Top Ten things to say about what you do with the birds you trap:

10.You take them for a drive
9. Send them back to England as part of a repatriation project
8.Retire them in the country side
7.Send them to a bird convent
6.Give them away as pets to the underprivileged
5.Donate them to a foreign country as food (Hay we eat chickens, right?)
4.Release them back to the parking lot of Walmart
3.Release them back to the parking lot of McDonalds
2.Give them to a local magician for his disappearing bird trick

and the number one thing to say about what you do with the birds you trap
1. Donate them to NASA for the next shuttle launch

On a serious note. Todays nest check was postponed due to afternoon thunder storms. We look forward to a nest check tomorrow and the restarting of the nestcam in a nest with eggs!!!!

 (c) Blog contents copyright 2009 S.Halpin/PurpleMartinArt.com

Purple Martin Nest Cam is ONLINE!

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Copyright: S.Halpin/ PurpleMartins-R-Us.com

Don’t get me wrong. My excitement is tempered with a healthy dose of reality. The nestcam is using mogulus.com (thank you tech support) and the birdcam is using Ustream.tv. I welcome any and all feedback on which you like better. Both insert the most annoying ads that I do NOT profit from. So please, no hate mail. The weight of the camera housing makes the gourd list to the side a bit but not too bad. Gourd #4 was the winner of the online poll to determine which gourd would get the camera first. The Nestcam seems to kick off a bit more frequently which requires me to focus a fair bit of my OCD tendencies to checking the 2 spare computers Internet connection. My husband is at the end of his patience…I think. I only know I would be. I am sure he wonders when he will get me back from the birds and is counting the days until the season is over.

This has been a very busy year. Between the websites and all that entails and my outreach efforts, I have been talking, thinking, and breathing purple.

I don’t know if I mentioned the Purple Martin presentation I gave at Green Cay Nature Center a few weeks ago. There were some 20 + people there and many questions were asked. I brought a selection of gourds and tried to “make some converts”. I have also been sending out flyer’s to local residences that have purple martin houses in their backyards.

My martins appear very happy and are quite loud. The pool water feature runs 24/7 to mask any noise that may attract Owls. We added the sheet metal to the pine tree under the Owls nest box and hope that helps to keep them safe from raccoons. But back to the martins, I need to hang more gourds to accommodate the birds that have yet to arrive. I still have yet to see a SY.

On today’s nest check I noticed that most of the gourds had either pine bark or leaves brought in and all seem used. Spotless clean of course but all but 1 or 2 have perfectly shaped nest bowls swirled like soft serve ice cream.

I hope you all enjoy the nest cam and bird cam and let me know what you think.

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

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.