Posts Tagged ‘chimney swifts’

The Davie Roost has MOVED!

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Apparently the raccoon predation was just too much for the purple martins at the Davie Road Racetrac gas station. They are no longer roosting at that site. I went on Friday night and the few purple martins that flew over head, never came down to the trees. The dead martins on the ground were still there, but no fresh kills. Apparently the roost was abandoned shortly after my visit on Saturday June 13.

Fortunately for all us purple martin lovers, a fellow PMCA forumite “Stingray” was shopping in the area and happened upon the new roost location. It is now located at the “Tower Shops” just South of 595 on the East side of University Drive, in the same plaza as Home Depot. The chances of finding the new roost location is almost a miracle in my book and the disappointment I felt this Friday is now replaced with excitement again. woo hoo! I can’t wait to go and see the new spot. I hope the folks at the Tower Shops greet the purple martins with the same welcome attitude that they enjoyed at Racetrac Gas station. The potential for a negative response is high considering there is no overhead cover to protect any shoppers from the rain of bird poop that they will be experiencing.

I have been ridiculously busy trying to prepare an article for you on emergency care of purple martins…I should say, first responder care of purple martins. I went to Folke Peterson Wildlife Center on Friday and met another one of their wonderful Veterinary Technicians, Faith, who let me photograph the HY purple martin while he was force fed. He is still not accepting food from the hemostats and his outlook is poor. Other than the fact that he is being force fed three times a day and can not fly, he appears calm and comfortable. A perfect gentleman.

Other interesting finds at the Wildlife Center was a Chimney Swift nestling that was brought in recently. Eyes shut and chattering loudly, the little nestling looked so out of place in his box. My heart bleeds for this little guy. For great information on Chimney Swifts and what you can do to help these birds visit  I was shocked to find out that contrary to what I had read on the swifts breeding range, South Florida, the West Palm area to be exact, has a nice little colony of swifts that live out my way. I am eager to convince my husband of the need to put up a Chimney Swift tower! I am so excited for this project for next year. Can you imagine THAT on a webcam?

Another interesting patient at Folke Peterson was a juvenile NightHawk. Which is quite the coincidence considering that I recently wrote a blog entry about these illusive birds that I NEVER thought I would see so close. Like a pet rock, it sat in its cage with its big eyes staring back at me. A curious bird and not very bird looking at all, up close. Faith told me of the odds against rehabilitating this bird and all birds that are strict aerial insectivores. A diet that is never fully able to be replicated, humans can only come up with a fair approximation of the dietary needs of such birds. I hope this one makes it too.


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Red Shouldered Hawk on the Prowl

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009

The Red tailed hawk continues to make half hearted passes at the purple martins but I have yet to actually witness any kills. (knocking on wood frantically)  I have seen the hawk looking for the mockers nests and perched low in branches looking for snakes and what not. Today’s pass at where the mockers are nesting was too close for comfort. Though I do not think he actually found the nest, he was looking and the mockingbird parents were being brave, if not foolish in their attempts to distract the hawk. Pass after pass the mockingbirds dove his head, a small annoyance to the hawk. The hawks gaze was intense and though I am unsure if he actually saw the nest. It could be that he was not interested in eggs and is just keeping up to date with the happenings in the nest. Perhaps he will return when the nestlings are a more satisfying meal. If the neighborhood crow does not get there first.

The martins are doing well and today I saw Chimney Swifts for the first time. I have heard people describe them as flying cigars before, but today I realized what an apt and fitting description that really is. Almost as if the have no tail and wings fluttering faster than a martins, they twittered loudly. The martins flew about not as interested in the swifts as the swifts seemed interested with them. They stayed, flying about for about 3-4 minutes until finally flying off. Not a very attractive call, the twittering reminded me of the clicking of dolphins. But then again, compared to my beloved Purple Martins, no bird sings as sweet.