Posts Tagged ‘Webcam’

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 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.

WebCam up and Martins Arriving Almost Daily

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Yes, the Colonycam/webcam is up and is streaming the exterior view of a portion of our colony. I am NOT thrilled with the stream provider and my apologies for the annoying ads that pop up. Believe it or not, gets nothing for those ads. If I want to stream the webcam without the ads I have to fork over about $100 a month. So unless I win the lottery, that isn’t going to happen. I am investigating other ways to stream the cam but it’s all a learning process so I beg for your understanding and patience.

We are up to about 5 ASY purple martins here at our colony in Florida. The last few days had some cold temps in the 30’s at night and tonight and tomorrow will have strong rain showers with high winds.

I wanted to re-post one of my favorite posts regarding cold weather and supplemental feedings for those up north that will be getting martins soon. Since flying insects are pretty much dormant when temps dip below 40 degrees having supplemental feeding trays available can be just as welcome to purple martins as birdseed to cardinals.


Extended Cold Spells TROUBLE for Purple Martins

Though it may make a cute picture, the mix of purple martins and extended adverse weather spells almost certain death for our feathered friends. And by extended weather, we are only talking about 2 days or more. Knowing what you can do will help your colony survive these early spring cold snaps.

Adverse weather, to a purple martin, is 2 or more days of steady rain and/or wind and/or cold temperatures below 40F. Only one of these conditions will make it virtually impossible for a purple martin to find enough food to sustain itself.

Being strict aerial insectivores, purple martins have no recourse when it comes to extended weather issues. They can’t forage for food on the ground and when temperatures dip, flying insects are no where to be found. With our crazy weather patterns we have been having and severe snow storms that have it snowing as far south as Florida, it is important to know what you can do.

So what should you do? ACT FAST! Don’t wait for your birds to be too weak to fly before offering supplemental feeding. Purple martins have to be trained to accept our help as they do not recognize food left out for them. If you wait too long your entire ASY purple martin population can die from starvation in just a few short days.

Supplemental Feeding of Purple Martins 101

Q: What do you feed a purple martins?

A: Crickets are the first choice for beginners. Mealworms or Scrambled Eggs are good once they learn to accept what you offer. But these items must be prepared. Mealworms and crickets (if live) should be frozen -till dead, then thawed thoroughly. They can be soaked in water and drained before feeding. Eggs should be cooked using NO oil or butter of any type.

Q: How do you feed a purple martin?

A: Martins that have never accepted supplemental feedings have to be taught or conditioned to eat food we offer them. After a day or 2 of adverse weather, approach the colony slowly. Use a large plastic spoon and fling a cricket up in the air in the general direction of the martins, up over them…remember you aren’t trying to hit the martins with the food. You want them to see the food flying past them. Continue this for 10 to 15 minutes. Most folks report that by the end of that time one or two birds will try to catch what they see flying by and once one starts, others will follow.

Once they accept food from you, the crickets (mealworms or scrambled eggs) can be placed on an elevated platform feeder and they will eat it off of the platform.

Visit this link on Supplemental Feeding of Adult Purple Martins for more information.


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/

Purple Martin Nest Cam is ONLINE!

Saturday, March 14th, 2009

Copyright: S.Halpin/

Don’t get me wrong. My excitement is tempered with a healthy dose of reality. The nestcam is using (thank you tech support) and the birdcam is using 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.

WebCam Woes!

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Oh gosh! If I never have to deal with this webcam debacle, I will die happy!! It may not be THAT bad, but dealing with this webcam has been a testament to God given patience and a few wine coolers. So most of you know about the webcam. How many of you know what a royal pain in the toukis it is?

I NOW have the webcam with another broadcasting site called . The actual site is at and as of now it is working…knock on wood. It seems that computers have a love hate relationship with routers. Routers are those little boxes that hook up your computer to high speed Internet connections and wireless connections in your house. They are a Godsend and a curse. First of all you want the router to protect your computer from pre-pubescent jerks trying to wreck havoc on your PC. The hackers now troll your neighborhood looking for wireless connections to hack into your computer. BUT to connect a webcam to another computer somewhere else, you have to tell your router that some things are OK. But I digress.

So camstreams is out (couldn’t get it to keep working) , Uviewit is out (too expensive!), Mogulus is out (could never get that one to work at all!) and we are now on I MUST apologize for the ads that pop up on the stream. I must assure you that I, or Do NOT get anything from those ads. It is a trade for the service provided by They let me stream for free…I put up with intrusive ads for skittles or whatever it is. So please forgive me for that.

NOW, about my Purple Martins. Who really cares about webcams! I am up to a dozen birds, or so I think. The Sunset Inn has drawn a few birds as residents. Which is interesting as last year the rack filled up completely withASY martins before the old plastic house got any traffic. It eventually got its fair share of SY’s. This year the new Aluminum house already has a lone ASY male on the far side AND a possible ASY PAIR on the near side. I added a 2×4 wire Owl protecting “cage” to the front of the house for added security. The Purple Martins are navigating the wire with no difficulty.

I took the pellet gun for some target practice and appear to be a terrible shot. A far cry from my marksman days in the US Army. Then again, if it was a BB rifle I am sure I would be a better shot. It is a pump up pellet handgun and my arms shake like jello after a few shots. I am consistently to the right of the target and no amount of site adjustments seems to alter that. Weird.

As per my previous post the birds are still staying close to home with birds around till noon and then back checking in after 3 or so. They are gearing up and I can’t wait to see them bringing in the pine needles!!!

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2009: S.Halpin/

Cold Snap? What Cold Snap? (Jan 18, 2009)

Sunday, January 18th, 2009

I should have known better than to trust a weather forecast. I dated a meteorologist many years ago. Not to say anything negative about him, but if he knew what an in-exact science forecasting the weather was, I should know by now.

The cold snap of this weekend was a frigid  mid seventy degrees. The weather was beautiful and picture postcard perfect. Today may have reached the low 80’s. So much for putting out crickets. No need to bother.

This morning I may have had a new female going in and out of compartments. I WILL stay out tonight and do a good head count. I promise! The Live streaming webcam/birdcam (whatever you want to call it) is proving addicting. I hope you all are enjoying it. I am still trying to get the stream on an “impartial/non-commercial” broadcast website without luck. I was told yesterday that I need to get a static IP address as my IP address is “dynamic” In regular language it means put out more money. Which brings me to a short statement I want to make.

For anyone that thinks that my motives on my websites are dollar driven. You can not be any further from the truth. When you add up all the upfront and operational costs of designing and making a website, you would see that it will be a long time before I can retire! Without going into my finances, I just want any nay-sayers to know that having just the name of the site ( and costs money. You pay per year of having the name. Then you pay someone for “hosting” the site (computer space to store all the sites information) Then the charges for someone to make it look like it does, work like it does, inventory, time, search engine/Google results…the list goes on and on. Enough said!

Oh, My sweet darling of a husband, put up a small Bat House for me. He was not thrilled, but he did it with a smile and with his usual willingness to please. I can tell he is not over-joyed with the thought of Bats living on the chimney but his love for me is stronger than his disgust of Bat guano, I suppose. I am a lucky girl!

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2009: S.Halpin/

A New Friend

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Some people talk about their Purple Martins and area able to tell you certain personality quirks or details that distinguishes one bird from another. I have no such special gift. I can only look at my birds and tell you if it is a male or female Purple Martin and if it is an adult(ASY) or subadult(SY).

So today along with my pair, that I have NO CLUE as to which gourd they are staying in, there is an extra female. I was told by Annie in Wisconsin (Thanks Annie!!!)  what gourd it may be which reminded me that I desperately need to number my gourds. Thank goodness for my fellow Purple Martin Conservation Association “forumites”!

Which reminds me. I wanted to mention to any New Purple Martin enthusiasts that the Purple Martin Conservation Association has an active forum to help those new in the hobby. They are a not for profit organization and a portion of the money they make goes directly to Purple Martin research. They are most worthy of your support. Check out their website, .

I went to the Folke Peterson Wildlife Rehabilitation Centers event this past Saturday. It was called the “Call of the Wild”. I gave the Purple Martin Conservation Associations PowerPoint presentation on Purple Martins. Well, I did AFTER they finally got the computer working! I had to go without ANY slides or pictures for the first 15 minutes or so, after having to start about 15  minutes late due to the technical issues. It started out with a big crowd but the computer issues discouraged some and I ended up with a small but inquisitive group that seemed genuinely interested…or too embarrassed to get up and go!!! Either way, we had a great time and I still hope that the Folke Peterson Wildlife Center will someday get to put up Purple Martin Housing.

So much stuff going on I have had NO time to go visit Joe, my purple martin friend. Some of you have read about him in past Blog entries. I have to admit I have neglected him miserably. I promise that I will visit him soon and update you ASAP. Search for Jose in the search box to the right to read past entries on Joe.

Farewell for now!

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2009: S.Halpin/

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 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/