"I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." ~Wendell Berry

Showing posts with label PMCA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PMCA. Show all posts

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Where the Magic Happens

Hello Friends!  The PMCA has been the singular, most important source of information for me over the past 11 years of being a purple martin landlord.  This is their second hear hosting a "nestcam".  A camera has been mounted inside a nest at the PMCA's public site.
The eggs are due to hatch today - click on the link below, then the play button to watch the nestcam.  But be warned - once you open this link and see the magic, it will be hard to complete your daily chores for the next 6 weeks.
Please consider supporting the PMCA - they are THE source of the best information on our most beloved martins!


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Purple Martin Breeding Time

For the second day in a row, I have had to rescue a female purple martin who had been forced down in the wet grass by several, hormone-driven male martins.  It's mating season here on Gobbler's Knob and across several states.  With the rains and dew making the grass and grounds very wet, it's important to keep an eye out for females whose feathers have become so wet that they can't take off.  They are extremely susceptible to hawk attacks and racoons if left on the ground overnight.  You can often determine that one is down by just observing your colony - watch for multiple males landing on one spot on the ground or flying over that same spot many times.
If you find a downed female in your yard, use a towel to toss over her when trying to catch her - this will help calm the colony as you retrieve her as well as stopping her from trying to flop across the grass to get away from you.  Put some pine needles in a 5-gallon bucket, per her in and cover the bucket with a towel and a board across the towel (to keep her from flying out inside your warm room).  Place her in a warm environment and as my friend Louise Chambers (PMCA) reminded me this morning, you can turn a heating pad on low setting and place it under the bucket - that's key - do not place it in the bucket.

If you'd like to read more about multiple forced-pair copulations, Steve Kroenke has written an extensive post about it on the PMCA forum here:  http://purplemartin.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=339&highlight=copulation

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Building a Super Colony of Purple Martin Landlords

When I first decided to setup a purple martin colony, I searched the internet and came across the Purple Martin Conservation Association (PMCA) website.  I read everything I could find on the site, but one article in particular touched my heart;  "Last Testament to the Purple Martin", by John Barrow.  It surprised me.  It made me truly think about my contributions to the purple martin, beyond just setting up housing.  It made me cry to think about my own mortality and how I'd like to be here forever for them.  But the reality is, I won't be here forever, despite my best efforts.

The last question that Mr. Barrow asks in his article is:  "That, friends, is my last testament to the Purple Martin. What is yours???".
My friend and mentor, John Barrow.

During the purple martin season, I would often think of what my response would be to that question.  In 2009, after 3 years experience with my own colony, it suddenly occurred to me what my response would be:  "My last testament to the purple martin and all the thousands of martins that I intend to fledge from my site is to help other landlords in Missouri offer safe housing, free from nest-site competitors and predators, to my returning birds that will disperse around this area to their sites."

I embarked on that project during the winter of 2009-2010.  I was honored when I was asked to talk about my Missouri mentoring project at a PMCA conference in August 2011.  Since that presentation, my list of people that I mentor has now climbed to 63 and I have helped new and existing landlords setup 17 new gourd rack systems, cleaned out numerous starling and house sparrow nests, installed predator guards and SREH plates on older housing, and I've lost track of how many site visits I've done.

Purple Martins & Coffee presentation on a Saturday morning.
As we enter the 2014 Purple Martin season, I wanted to share this presentation with its examples of some easy, simple steps that you can use to help the purple martins in your area.

In our fast-paced, stressed-out, and overworked lives, it seems daunting to take on the tasks of helping someone else with their purple martin site.  But from my own experiences, I can assure you, it is manageable and the long-term, downstream effects are immeasurable.  By making the best use of electronic media, you can manage quite a few new landlords!  Your efforts to help your neighbors with their colonies by reducing their house sparrow populations and increase their martins' productivity would likely benefit your own colony!

The attached presentation is in a video format, but you can click the "Pause" button to review each slide in detail.  I hope you enjoy and consider becoming a mentor yourself this season; even if it's just one site, you too can leave behind a legacy for the Purple Martin.