Monthly Archives: April 2016

Holiday Beach Colony

After losing 15 martins on April 11, 2015 due to the previous cold, snowy conditions,  I am happy to report that on Thursday, April 14 just four days later, 25 martins were present at the colony and making a comeback. Of the 15 that did not survive, one carried a band whose identification from the Banding Lab confirmed that it was banded just down the road on Ambassador Beach at one of our member’s colony in 2013. The weather is supposed to be more stable over the next few weeks so the martins will have more food available to them and migration will once again carry on. Hopefully, the colony at Holiday Beach and at others in Ontario will be similar to last year. Some of our members did also report some dead martins at their colony.

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Lonestar Add A Rack

I was recently given a Lonestar add a rack to see how it would hold up on my Alamo style purple martin house so I thought I would take some liberty with the design to make a modification for ease of use. The two photos are quite explanatory. The only difficulty i noticed was that the 1/4 inch bolt to which the cable was attached interfered with a flush mount. I drilled out a hole in the rack and it now sits the way that makes most sense. I hope you can use this if you have to mount your own. I will test to see how many gourds will work well with the set up. Currently it holds four Troyer horizontals and one vertical.

Lonestar Gourd Rack add on IMG_4175

Next OPMA Meeting- April 16, 2016

Hello everyone!    
Happy spring …wait ………………WHAT?
Hopefully the weather will have finally turned to spring by the time of our …….
……. next meeting of the Ontario Purple Martin Association:
        Saturday, April 16, (9:00 am) at Orchard View Golf Course, Ruthven.
Some of us have a few martins back.    Without a doubt this is a tough spring for them, but they can survive with some help from us.   There are 2 lovely males at Orchard View, who I visit twice a day with “meals on wheels”.   *:) happy
They look a little depressed (as am I), but they can withstand a lot of cold as long as they have some food.
An encouragement to all:
This cold extends so far south, and is forecasted for another 1+  weeks here, that if any birds return on the next southerly wind flow (supposed to be tomorrow and Wednesday in Leamington area) they will be in a weakened state.    Even if your birds have not  been trained to accept supplemental food, it is worth a try feeding them anyway!      So many landlords throughout the US (even into the deep south) have trained their birds, both for poor weather on arrival, or for poor weather when they are raising young, that your birds may have learned “en route”.    Many landlords south of us feel that their colonies are enlarged temporarily with birds that are heading north.   Many of these landlords feed their birds (and possibly, ours!).
So when you get birds back, and want to help, here’s something you can try:
Scramble an egg in a microwave safe bowl.    DO NOT add anything to it.     Microwave on HI for about 30 seconds; stir/mash.  Repeat until egg is just cooked.    A potato masher is a very handy tool for breaking the egg up into martin size pieces.    Grab a plastic picnic spoon and try flipping some pieces in front of the martins.   If they are familar with the process, you should see some attempts to get some.     EVEN BETTER for the birds (conserves their energy), if they try to go after flipped pieces, try putting some on the porches of their housing, or on a shed roof, or similar.
AND BETTER YET for the martins ….. if you can get hold of some crickets, try flipping those, then follow above steps.
Some folk have reported success just putting crickets on the porches, and the martins have helped themselves !
Martins need to be very hungry to learn to accept supplemental food.    Any martins returning through this cold spell WILL BE VERY HUNGRY.
Guideline:   From the PMCA (Purple Martin Conservation Association):   
“An adult martin can maintain its weight on 40 crickets per day, if that is all it is eating.    One cooked egg will feed two adult martins for one day, so one egg = 80 crickets.” 
See our OPMA website Weather And Martins |
for some good information on this subject, as well as links to the PMCA’s information.
There are many different perspectives on the issue of supplemental feeding.    This information is offered by the writer only as an assist to those who may wish to try it.
Hope to see you on April 16th  …..  without winter coats !!!!!!!!
Mary Wilson
519-326-1710

Polar Vortex Warning from PMCA

Arctic cold, winds, and snow will hit parts of the midwest and northeast this weekend. Conditions could be deadly for martins, so check your weather forecast now, and prepare for several days of no feeding for martins.  Click here for more information on supplemental feeding and visit the Forum for tips on helping your martins through the inclement weather.