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”.
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 !!!!!!!!