Martin News April 1-7, 2015
It has been a while since this section has been updated but it’s purple martin time!
Over the winter I was fortunate to have many visitors to my backyard feeders including cardinals,nuthatches, chicadees, red bellied woodpeckers, cow birds, chipping sparrows, sapsuckers and blue jays. It was also wonderful to see deer and wild turkeys strutting through the fields. As the Spring approached blue birds, vultures, golden eagles, Canada geese, mallard ducks, and gulls passed above our property. Cooper hawks, sharp shinned hawks and harriers used the field behind me as a hunting ground. Everyday this Spring brings a new story to share so I begin this news with that approach.
The weather is somewhat co-operating and the tree swallows have been steadily arriving over the last week to claim their nest boxes. Don Bissonnette informed me that he has made his bluebird rounds with his team to clean and wash the inside of the boxes and he reports that there are bluebird nests that are half completed. Here in Essex, I’ve seen a male bluebird in my yard but the pair that took up residence last year and fledged young on two separate occasions has not been seen. Tree swallows are visiting this nest box despite my best efforts to discourage them by blocking the entrance. Up to four pair have now visited my yard over the last week and claimed their nesting boxes. We’ll see how they fair over the next few weeks.
The colony site at Holiday Beach is now in position and there are two housing systems as well as a gourd rack in position offering 24 compartments. The tree swallows have claimed their nesting box for the third year in a row. Dennis and I adjusted the housing last week and cleared the weeds and brush below to deter any HOSP or rodents from hiding . All the nesting compartments are outfitted with SRE and their nesting chambers have straw and pine needles for bedding material. I believe the martins should be arriving the week of April 6, 2015.
Many OPMA landlords have reported their first arrivals and I thank them for their due diligence as they have readied their housing for these arrivals. Gilles Breton was the first to report a martin and a tree swallow at the Woodlands Hill Golf Club. As always, his enthusiasm for these arrivals is so overwhelming.
It is interesting to see how the martins have arrived over the past week in various locations-Morpeth, Forest, Niagara Falls, Long Point etc. There is such a scattering of these early arrivals. The weather will be a key to their survival over the next few weeks as the weather temperatures fluctuate, rainy and snowy conditions come and go. If the martins cannot find food, they will certainly perish so it is important for everyone to monitor this next generation of martins. Unfortunately, Susan Dobbin, Niagara Falls already reported that one female martin died after arriving at her colony. It was a three year old female who was banded in Pennsylvania as a nestling. How she came to Sue’s colony on the Niagara river is a complete mystery. As the car travels she was 160 miles from her natal colony.
Rob Cornies is in the process of adding a new T 14 to his colony set up which he purchased from Aaron Miller in Norwich, Ontario. Aaron and his uncle attest to the use of this Troyer house as both of them have very healthy colonies and the housing is heavily used.
While doing yard work on Monday, April 6th Dennis Shady also reported that he had to raise his housing as the martins circled overhead at about 10:00 a.m.
Don Bissonnette also reported a single male singing on his TV antenna as he hastily tried to get his gourds ready. Thereafter, he went to the Ford’s to fetch their Trio Castle out of the shed and with Nancy’s assistance got the housing in place. Nice to see that Don is helping the Ford’s and keeping them in step to the martins.
The Manitoba Purple Martin Club sent us their newsletter and detailed the many events that they had during the past summer. Kevin Fraser showed up at their picnic and demonstrated how the geo-locators on martins work and how they can track them to Brazil and back. They will begin their study this summer with the geo-locators to determine their routes from Manitoba to Brazil. Ernie also mentioned how our club banded over 1000 martins this past year 2014 and how it was important to keep our eyes opened for banded martins.
The Purple Martin Update also arrived at my doorstep and it is also filled with information about Project Martinwatch 2014, New Generation Landlords, Success Stories and Landlord Tips. Why not consider supporting the Purple Martin Association.
I was reminded again by Richard Carr, Walpole Island Purple Martin Project to keep an eye out for geo-locators on returning purple martins this Spring. Several were banded and geo-locators attached during the Summer of 2014 by Patrick Kramer and his associate. Please contact Richard or any of our executive members to verify and assist you with verification or determination of a geo-locator on a purple martin’s back.
It is so interesting to hear from our landlords at this time of year. Everyone it seems has a story to tell as to how they saw their first martin. Soon enough the crickets and eggs will be tossed to keep these newly arrived martins alive.
Keep the stories coming!