Blog history - 2005

Feb 22, 2005   
Harold's dad had 3 martins show up at his house in Walters this afternoon. We rushed home after work to get some of our own housing up. As usual, we are running behind and don't have everything ready. Harold built his dad a T-18 (vs. T-14) this winter. It's not completely done yet. He still needs to cut the SREH openings in the doors. We also have plans to build a T-24 for ourselves - 6 houses on all four sides. We have the pole up, but haven't started on the house yet. No martins have shown up yet, but the countdown has begun.

Feb 25, 2005   
We've had one purple martin house up for three days and haven't seen any birds. Finally this morning we saw 2 purple martin pairs. They checked out the house. Almost immediately, we had sparrows and starlings show up and start fighting with the purple martins. We'll use the pellet gun to persuade the trash birds to move on or face the consequences.
Mar 1, 2005   
We've had 5 or 6 birds hanging around, but none have been staying in our houses.

Mar 14, 2005   
The birds are finally arriving and picking the room that they want. This year the gourds have filled up early.

Mar 22, 2005   
The martins may not be paired up yet, but it seems like we have birds in every room. For the houses to be completely full, we would have to have over 70 martins. So far we've only counted 43. There has been enough fighting going on that we have put up the first side of the T24 bringing our room count up to 44.

Apr 9, 2005   
Saw our first sub-adult. Looks like the new 6 rooms are filling up.

Apr 16, 2005   
We've added the 2nd side of the T24. We now have 50 rooms. Today we had our first official nest check. The birds have been busy bringing in pine needles and grass. There were 33 nicely developed nests. As usual, we had a variety of types of nests - pine needle, grass (almost looked like sparrow nests), sticks and mud.

Apr 21, 2005   
We've got eggs - 12 of them; 35 nests. One room had a starling egg - that was different.

Apr 24, 2005   
We've finished the last two sides of the T24. We only opened two of the rooms for a total of 52 rooms. I don't think it matters how many rooms we have - the birds are going to fight. Today's nest check: 37 nests; 36 eggs.

May 5, 2005   
The last few days have been tough. The weather has been in the 50's with drizzle. Today we were able to do a nest check and have two dead females. Current counts are 42 nests, 133 eggs.

May 14, 2005   
During today's nest check we found another dead female martin. She was sitting on 6 eggs. We removed an additional 6 cold eggs from a nest that was past its hatch date plus 2 eggs that were kicked out of a nest. We still have 21 eggs that are cold that could possibly be removed. We are waiting for their hatch date before removing them. Current counts are 49 nests, 121 eggs, 9 young. 20 of the nests have yet to lay any eggs.

May 26, 2005   
We've opened 6 additional rooms. Current stats: 56 cavities, 51 nests, 114 eggs, 60 young, 61 eggs discarded.

Jun 5, 2005   
We had birds fledge today. Current stats: 56 cavities, 52 nests, 106 eggs, 105 young, 5 fledged, 64 eggs discarded.

Jun 12, 2005   
We had to assist a young bird back into the nest. The poor thing was flailing on the ground. We were able to determine which cavity he belonged to by using our nest check sheets. Current stats: 56 cavities, 52 nests, 61 eggs, 149 young, 9 fledged.

Jun 23, 2005   
Things are going along smoothly with the birds. We've returned a couple more fledglings to their nests. Last night we saw a banded bird - unfortunately we didn't get a chance to look at the bands through binoculars before he flew. Current stats: 56 cavities, 52 nests, 11 eggs, 146 young, 57 fledged.

Jun 30, 2005   
A couple of the martin pairs had a surprise for us. The first two nests that fledged have eggs in them again. Both cavities have 4 eggs. During todays nest check, we found a dead baby. For whatever reason, it was smaller than its siblings. The other 5 babies fledged, while this little guy was barely getting past the pin-feather stage. The parents abandoned him. The babies in the webcam room have fledged. Current stats: 56 cavities, 52 nests, 9 eggs, 121 young, 87 fledged.

Jul 16, 2005   
We removed the eggs from the two nests. The eggs in room 8 were not fertile. The babies tried to peck out of the eggs in room 7 but did not make it. I guess the parents had abandoned the eggs and were not there to assist the hatching process. Current stats: 56 cavities, 52 nests, 17 young, 191 fledged.

Jul 19, 2005   
We're nearly down to the end. We have one room scheduled to fledge on the 23rd and then all three houses will be empty. Current stats: 56 cavities, 52 nests, 4 young, 204 fledged.