Posts Tagged ‘Purple martins’

Mockingbirds Make Five

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

As I was walking around the far end of our property, I happened across a small neat nest in a Cocoplum bush. The bush has grown quite tall and wild and is home to an occasional rabbit or two. The mockingbirds either didn’t notice me wander so close to their nest or they didn’t care. I have had mockers nest right outside our. Front door and it seems they have come to know me. They pretty much ignore me and go about their business knowing I will do them no harm. It’s a wonderful feeling to be trusted in that way by a wild animal. The nest only has 2 eggs so I am sure it is not a complete clutch. Perhaps in a couple of days I will see her starting to incubate.
These mockers are now the fifth species of bird to nest this year in our yard. First was our Screech Owls, then our Purple Martins returned (of course), then a Red-Bellied Woodpecker took up residence right outside our window, then a pair of Greater Crested Flycatchers took up house in the (now vacant) Screech Owl box.
Our yard has become quite the haven of late for all sorts of wildlife. The vanishing waterfall is a favorite of the mockers, doves and a multitude of Common Grackles for a drink and bathing. The sunflower feeder feeds the woodpeckers, cardinals, bluejays, grackles and occasional Red-Winged Blackbirds.

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A Beautiful Day

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

20130414-194108.jpgThough the day was a bit windy, it couldn’t have been a more beautiful day. My heart goes out to the landlords up North who are dealing with unprecedented Spring snow storms. The damage to property has been devastating in some parts of the country but thinking about the poor martins arriving home to be greeted by cold snow is so sad.
I will be doing a nest check soon and I have seen most nests being faithfully guarded in the morning hours by male martins. I am wondering if a few eggs are already present.

SubAdults Arrive and Fighting Begins!

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Nothing more frustrating as a purple martin landlord than seeing your beloved birds breaking out in heated battle. I am sure (from past experiences) that it will get worse, but nevertheless, watching your kids beating each others heads in is hard to watch. I have long since given up caring what the neighbors think, but 5 minutes into yelling up at the MPP pole for the martins to, “QUIT IT!!!”, I did notice the ridiculousness of it all. The martins ignored me and untill I lowered the pole, the SY male wouldn’t stop trying to enter the Sunset Inn house. Once lowered, the ASY male and female sat in the compartment quietly. I opened the room and reached in to remove the ASY male (to check for any lasting injury. The female just sat and didn’t move a feather. She stayed the whole time. I released the male, raised the housing and all was well…for a few minutes anyway.

On another note, we have gotten a few new items at our store, www.PurpleMartins-R-Us.com. These cool Purple Martin metal Silhouettes are both functional and decorative. I can’t decide if I want to attach some to the top of my Aluminum house or up on top of my kitchen cabinets.

 

(C) 2013 PurpleMartinArt

Martins Everywhere!

Monday, February 18th, 2013

Not a SY (subadult) Martin anywhere but it appears as though every gourd on the 2 gourd racks is being occupied. The MPP was later going up so most of the 2 house compartments are still vacant and a few of the 8 gourds are vacant on it still.
I found feathery remains of a purple martin in the yard. I hope it isn’t an owl but my instinct tells me it may be. Clustered in a grassy spot, away from any trees, it seems like owl activity to me. From what I have learned about owls, they usually eat their pray not to far from where they catch it. Hawks will usually take their prey to a tree and eat it on a limb. Of course, if they are feeding young they will take it back to their nest.
I know it’s the circle of life but would rather not know about it.

Singing With Abandon

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

About 2 dozen martins are frequenting our 2 racks that are up. The one center pole that holds our 2 aluminum houses is not raised due to a rope that came out of the pulley. Tomorrow we hope to rectify that and raise it also since I see a few birds looking. Down at it wondering why it isn’t up yet. I have learned a lesson from this though. When you lower your housing, you should still tie off your ropes

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2013 Season Has Begun!

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Arriving one day later than they did in 2012, our purple martin season has begun. Today’s count was 8 birds, both ASY males and females. The one purple martin female, that had been returning every year to the same gourd seems to be absent. For the last 3 or 4 years a beautiful ASY female would arrive first and claim the same gourd. For some reason I doubt she decided to use another gourd. One the upside, I am glad she spent several productive seasons here at our colony.

There are several new items that will be making their way to our retail website, www.PurpleMartins-R-Us.com , so keep your eyes open for a NEW spiral gourd rack, newly designed owl/hawk guards for Trio /Erva purple Martin houses, and more. We also have made all purple martin housing ship FREE.

Purple Martin Colony Loss: Getting Your Martins Back

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Here is a question I received concerning what to do when a colony is lost due to predation.

Q:

Dear PurpleMartins-R-Us:
My 92-year old grandfather has two purple martin houses (a 24-compartment house and a 12-compartment house). Unfortunately, after about 10 years of successfully colonizing, snakes climbed the poles about five years ago and that was, of course, the end of the purple martins. He misses them dearly and is highly motivated to resume his landlord duties should the martins come home.
My question is, how do we bring the martins back? He continues to clean the houses and raise them in time for their migrations, but to no avail. Do we need to replace the houses? Do we need to move the houses?
We appreciate any advice you can offer and thank you for your time!

A:

Basically he has to start from scratch. Use tools like dawnsong CD’s to attract them in to the site and decoys, prevent any further predation from snakes and he should be able to attract new martins from his surrounding area. Unfortunately, The martins that lived in his houses, that lost babies due to the snakes, will never return. Moving or changing the houses should not be necessary.

This question highlights the need to vigilance when it comes to protecting your colony from predation. Predator Guards, Snake netting and nest checks are tools that can keep your martin colony healthy and thriving.

Purple Martin Mania in N. Michigan! Rogers City goes purple!

Monday, May 7th, 2012

What a great cause and a great opportunity for folks in Northern Michigan to show support for at risk kids. If you are in the Presque Isle County area, I encourage you to spread the word and attend.

Thursday, May 24

7 p.m. at the Rogers City Community & Senior Center
Compelling child advocate and author Jeanne Fowler presentation

Friday, May 25

3 p.m. – 6 p.m. at The Purple Martin Inn
Open house at 194 Depot, Rogers City, MICHIGAN

4 p.m. – 6 p.m. at The Purple Martin
Have Jeanne Fowler sign a copy of her book, “Peter’s Lullaby”

6 p.m. at The Purple Martin
See a presentation on purple martin birds

Saturday, May 26

8 p.m. – 11 p.m. under the stoplight on Third
Put on your dancing shoes! Dance under the county’s only stoplight
Then stay for a beach bonfire

The Purple Martin, an endangered migratory bird, a symbol for foster children and an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Sponsored by The Purple Martin & the City of Rogers City.

Starlings and Fledgelings and Jumpers, OH MY!

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

So much news and I have really been negligent on the blog. My apologies but between helping customers of PurpleMartins-R-Us.com, 2 kids, a busy colony and a landscape project…I have been swamped!

Bad news is the BirdCam has turned out to be a huge disappointment this year. I invested more money and hired a “computer geek” who, in MY opinion, swindled me out of my money. I was very specific with what I wanted my streaming camera to be and instead ended up with what he felt was good enough. But enough said about that…

My landscaping project turned out pretty well. Nothing huge. Just redoing the front of the house which had become a snake haven. I moved 3 cubic yards of large egg rock (that’s about 3 tons worth) over the course of a week and achieved my goal of having the front be presentable. Many thanks to Lawrence over at http://www.butterfliesandwildlife.com/ who gave me some tips and ideas for the fountain. It is a disappearing fountain that recycles water as it flows down a stepped “mini river” of sorts. Though his is much more natural looking and longer, mine was created with basically stuff I already had laying around. A preformed pond liner, pond pump and hardware cloth. I only added the spitter from Lowes and the preformed stepped river portion was on CLEARANCE for $14! My husband admits it came out better than he thought it would. Of course, he is used to my projects…some of which turn out badly.
 


The purple martins are fledging all over the place. I think there are more youngsters flying about today than babies in nests. 2 skinny jumpers were found on the ground from a nest that I am sure the parents abandoned. Perhaps an Owl or Hawk got them. But I placed them in a low hanging gourd with youngsters in it. I could not lower the rack as so many nests were over 20 days old. For those that do not know, once nests are over 20 days old, babies can jump out during nest checks from fright. The PMCA recommends that you block off entrances to those nests that are over 2o days old…some say 22 days old by attaching a rag to a string then pulling out the rag once the housing is back up for a few minutes. Just wait 2 or 3 minutes for them to settle down and then pull the rag out. But since so most of my nest were over 20-24 days old, it just wasn’t possible. So I saw them begging and no one feeding them and watched helplessly until they jumped and gave them some Gatorade before sticking them in the new gourds. Remember, you can read about common purple martin emergencies and what to do at our store site PurpleMartins-R-Us.com.

Starlings took up residence in a flicker box located way to close to my house for the woodpeckers to be interested. But a pair of starlings did. Since no one else wanted the nest box, I let them nest and waited until they were incubating to catch them. I learned something very interesting about them. Once they decided to nest, I was hard pressed to see them both at the same time. They were very quiet, almost as if they knew that I was on to them. I did get a great pic of a starling nest. Very different from a martin nest. Of course, I could have pierced the eggs with a small sharp pin, addled (shook them VIGOROUSLY), or coated them with a thin coat of mineral oil, and let momma starling waste half a season.

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.