After last year's drama of having to deal with a lot-more-than-usual hawk attacks (8-10 per day - we think a male & female Cooper's hawk) we removed a few more trees this past winter. So far, this has been a huge improvement...(knocking on wood).
The guidelines for attracting martins state that you need 40' of open space around your colony, but there are many other factors involved in that, not only for attracting, but also keeping them safe. Even though they were 150' away, the hawks were using the cedar trees as cover and coming up the East side low & fast behind them, then launching surprise attacks on my new fledges. So, in the end, the trees had to go.
|My "Winged Orcas"|
In my particular case, the noise from my colony attracts hawks, more than any birds at a bird feeder.
The birds at the East feeding station were on duty, doing their part. They work-for-food...notice I didn't say, "for free", but since chicken scratch is only $7.50 a bag at our local MFA, let's just call them, "cheap labor" and "free decoys".
Take a listen - how many birds can you identify by their calls in the below video? I'll give you a hint - there are NO English house sparrows or starlings!
At 7:08 PM a small group of eight martins started circling the gourd racks. By 7:24 PM - still only seeing 8 martins, I thought I may have been off by a factor of 12 when I had informed a fellow purple martin landlord that I thought I had approximately 100 martins here now.
But at 7:31 PM, it started raining martins from the sky and I had to force myself to turn off the video camera periodically as I tried to keep watch for any approaching hawks and enjoy the show at the same time. And wow, WHAT a show - a brilliant sunset AND over 100 purple martins! I had such a delightful evening.
The sound in the video below is just as I heard it - no enhancements have been made. I did have to blend multiple videos together, as I had to frequently turn it off and on, so I could walk around and continue to monitor for hawks. To enjoy the video below, click on the YouTube icon and open in full-screen mode.
I love these evenings - partly cloudy paired with the setting sun causing these rapidly changing colors, along with loud, raucous purple martin chatter and no hawks. Good night, my lovelies! Tomorrow is another day!