Posts Tagged ‘Purple martins’

Purple Martin Orphans Take Flight

Friday, June 21st, 2013

At 26 days old and hitting about 47 grams, a trio of purple Martin orphans were released.
The hawk attacks have subsided and I even saw the much missed red shouldered hawk a few days ago. I hope that signals that the Cooper’s hawk has left the area. Enough damage was done this season by the Coopers who was hitting our colony upwards of 4-6 times a day. I was witnessing him taking ASY and fledglings alike from trees and directly from the housing.
Oh well…these 3 young martins got a full belly of live crickets and a dose of avian vitamins before taking to the air. I am proud to day they looked much better than when I found them on the ground after having jumped out of hunger & desperation. They were very much under weight and thankfully were able to recover. One nest mate who jumped 1 day after these 3 was unfortunately never able to gain enough weight and did not survive. Remember that taking a Martin fledgling to a wildlife rehabilitator should always be your first choice. If you need more info on what to do if you find a grounded purple, go to


Perfect Storm

Monday, June 10th, 2013

Over a week of terrible weather due to the first named tropical system of hurricane season and a greedy Coopers Hawk has taken its toll on our colony. The hawk was coming several times a day. I witnessed him grabbing the sides of the houses and gourds and shaking them violently in order to try and flush out martins. He got 3 birds in one day that I witnessed. Of course, it could have been more than one Coopers…maybe a family of them for all I know. What I know for sure is that the large numbers of recently fledged martins are no longer being brought home at night and our numbers have plummeted drastically. There are about 4 nests being fed and night time is a much quieter affair. It is hard to say if the hawk has stopped coming by as often because there are less birds or there are less birds due to the hawk. I won’t take any credit in scaring the hawk off with our Scarecrow…but you never know.


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.


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, 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


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, , 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.


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!


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.