Martins, Martins Everywhere! 2/19/09

In recent posts I have speculated that Purple Martins were spending more time at home and that nesting should begin soon. Well, nesting has not yet started but it can not be far off. I do not believe there was any significant portion of time today that my Purple Martins were away from home. At 2 PM they were still crawling all over the housing and chortling away. I am confident that I will have no vacancies as I counted at least 15 Martins at one time and saw pairs defending compartments all day long. The noise is a true blessing and reminds me of the gifts of life and joy and God, all wrapped up in a purple package. The activity and song has such an exuberance to it. It is hard to remember how desolate my yard becomes when the Martins are not here.

The gourd rack is the winner again but not as clear cut as last year. Though the CUENT Economy Gourd rack was first to welcome home Purple Martins, the Sunset Inn house is taking on house guests. I estimate 2 pairs in the house and at least one bachelor ASY male. A solo male in an Excluder gourd hanging under the house and at least half of the gourd rack is housing ASY Purple Martins. Not one SY yet to be seen BUT I have a feeling that I am thrilled and looking forward to nest building to commence. I wish I had the means to put up another house or rack for them as I hate to think that any Purple Martins would want for a nest site. I have seen many houses get boarded up with the housing crisis and know that these birds have been facing these challenges for some time. If only there were more people out there that were interested not just being environmentally friendly, but “environmentally intimate”.

There is nothing more intimate and precious than watching the cycle of life unfold so dramatically right in your own backyard.  Counting the eggs in the nest and marking the hatch day on the calander. Counting the nestlings as they emerge from their shells. Watching them grow and feather out over the course of a month. Holding them and whispering well wishes and prayers as you place them back in their nest for the last time. Then waiting and watching the parents coax the fledglings out into the world. Knowing that the parents will return every year, trusting me with their young. Watching over me as I say my little prayers. Waiting with bugs in their mouths, to feed the hungry youngsters, whose appetites never seem to wane. “I’m hurrying…I’m hurrying” I’ll say to them, as if they understand.   This is what I do. And Autumn will be here too soon. Leaving my yard silent.

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2009: S.Halpin/

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