Blog history - 2006

Feb 9, 2006   
Harold read that the Purple Martin's are in Dallas, so its time to start getting ready for our birds. I can't believe that the birds are already on their way back to the states. It seems like we just took down the bird houses. There is not a lot that we need to do this year. Harold has already re-concreted one of the bird house poles and I think we need to replace a pulley. Other than that, we are ready to go. As for the web site, I've rearranged our blog history and updated our site data for 2005. The 2005 season was not a record year for us. We had a cold and rainy spell during the first week of May. Two females died because of the weather and in the end, we discarded 60+ eggs. For 2005, we added 18 additional rooms but only fledged 9 more birds than in 2004. Hopefully this year will be better.

Feb 14, 2006   
The Purple Martins are in Oklahoma - Harold put up the metal house and the T-11.

Feb 25, 2006   
Harold's dad saw purple martins yesterday so we put up the T14 and T24.

Feb 26, 2006   
We saw our first purple martins - 4 males and 3 females.

Mar 1, 2006   
We have 8 martins. Its weird how we haven't had any problems with starlings and sparrows until the martins showed up. Now everyone wants in the purple martin houses.

Mar 12, 2006   
My parents came over from Altus to watch the martins. We're estimating that we have about 30 birds so far.

Mar 20, 2006   
We finally got some rain. Up until Friday, we had only received .6" since Sept '05. It was cold and rainy over the weekend, but we got 1.6" of rain. The rain should slow down the grass fires, but the martins had to go without food. We had a few crickets in the freezer so Harold catapulted them into the air for them. The martins caught quite a few of them. Since we didn't have many crickets we also tried scrambled eggs and fried hamburger meat. They weren't interested in either - I guess nothing beats a cricket.

Mar 22, 2006   
Harold ordered some more crickets and they came in yesterday, which was a good thing. It has been too cold for the martins to find any insects (I heard that insects don't come out until 45 degrees). Harold used a large plastic spoon to launch the crickets into the air. The birds caught about 90% of them. The weather should be back to normal by Friday.

Apr 3, 2006   
We've had three adults birds die. The first was probably due to the cold and wet weather. Our neighbors found the second - a female that was either injured or sick and yesterday we found a dead male in the metal house. We had an owl show up last week, but he didn't mess with the martin houses. We're playing a CD of white noise at night to hopefully distract the owl from hearing any martin noises. I've counted at least 63 martins and there were more in the air. We opened the last of the rooms so all 62 cavities are open for business.

Apr 17, 2006   
We started our nest checks on Apr 13th. We had 26 nests. We performed our second nest check on Apr 16th and had 33 nests and 3 eggs!! We found one dead male in one of the houses - reason unknown. So far we haven't seen any sub-adults but they should be here any day.

Apr 21, 2006   
45 nests; 20 eggs. We saw our first sub-adult today.

Apr 27, 2006   
51 nests; 99 eggs. No eggs have been layed in the metal house yet. I guess its been too cold - the mornings have been in the 40's.

May 7, 2006   
57 nests; 146 eggs; 7 young. Two nests already have babies and almost half of our nests have yet to start laying. I guess that means we'll have a long season. It's been cool and rainy. Two nests that had 5 eggs each discarded all of their eggs - hopefully they will re-lay. We finally have an egg in the metal house, but its not in the webcam room.

May 17, 2006   
61 nests; 115 eggs; 89 young. The webcam room now has two eggs. Yeah!! On the downside, the purple martins have removed 23 eggs/young. That seems exceptionally high. Is it the cooler weather (in the 70's) or lack of insects (dry winter)?

May 30, 2006   
61 nests; 123 eggs; 122 young. There are 4 eggs in the webcam room. One is exceptionnaly small - a bit larger than a pea. It's probably infertile.

Jun 8, 2006   
61 nests; 51 eggs; 189 young; 25 fledged. It looks like only 2 of the eggs in the web cam room are going to hatch. We rescued a fledgling today. The baby had bailed out of the birdhouse 5 days before he was scheduled to fly. Luckily we were able to tell which room he belonged in because the parents kept flying down to him and back to their room. We lowered the birdhouse and put him back where he belonged.

JuL 8, 2006   
61 nests; 10 eggs; 34 young; 216 fledged. Things have settled down with the birds in the last month. There are still quite a few birds here, plus we had a surprise to find 5 eggs in a house that had already fledged six young. It looks like the female is sitting on them, but it is possible that she will abandon the eggs if rest of the birds leave. The other 5 eggs are past their hatch date, so it doesn't look like they will make it. If all of the remaining young fledge, then we will have hit our goal of 250 fledglings.

Aug 13, 2006   
In total we fledged 253 young. One single female remains with 3 fledglings. Considering the hot weather we've been having (105+ degrees), she needs to gather her little ones and head out of here.