Blog history - 2007

Jan 25, 2007   
In the past couple of days I've seen a mockingbird and starlings. Spring is on its way. In preparation for the 2007 season, I've moved last year's blog to the history page and updated our site data for 2006. The 2006 season was a tough one - cold weather early on, followed by drought conditions that limited the food supply and then ended with 105+ degree weather. Surprisingly, we still had a good year with a 78% fledge rate.

Feb 21, 2007   
We had a single female show up today. Harold put up one of the sides of the T-11 house and immediately, she swooped down and started chattering to him. We put up rest of the T-11 and the metal house. We have a total of 19 rooms - only 16 of them are open.

Mar 4, 2007   
We add a few more birds everyday. We put up the T-14. We have a total of 33 rooms - 27 of them are open.

Mar 10, 2007   
I've counted 25 birds. We cleaned up and added the 5 gourds. Total is 38 rooms - 32 of them open. One of the birds flew immediately to the back gourd - like he had been waiting for us to put up his house.

Mar 14, 2007   
We worked on the third birdhouse pole. The pole was wobbly after last year's dry summer. Harold dug out a larger base and we filled it with concrete. I guess we under estimated the weight of a birdhouse with 24 rooms.

Mar 15, 2007   
I opened up the closed rooms on the back sides of the T11 and T14. All 38 rooms are open. I checked all of the rooms while I had the houses down. One female got to enjoy the ride. She stayed in her room while the house was lowered and raised. I guess she has staked her claim and doesn't want to risk losing her spot.

Mar 17, 2007   
Harold put up the T24. The back rooms are still closed - we have 56 rooms open.

Apr 1, 2007   
My mom and dad came over today to watch the birds. We probably sat outside for 2 hours. The weather was wonderful. I've counted about 60 birds.

Apr 7, 2007   
Last weekend the weather was great, and now it is barely getting up to the mid-40's. Harold fed the martins some crickets and june bugs that we had stored in the freezer. We don't have much - hopefully it will be enough to sustain them until Monday when it is supposed to get warmer.

Apr 8, 2007   
Harold talked to his dad and his dad had found one dead martin. He tried feeding the martins various things (grub worms, earth worms, bread, hotdogs) He found that they would eat grub worms and hotdogs. He couldn't find enough grub worms, so hotdogs were it. We also tried hotdogs - the birds didn't particularly like them, but they ate them.

Apr 9, 2007   
I found three dead martins in our back yard today. It got to 50 degrees, but it was too late for these three. The rest of the martins are acting like they found food.

Apr 10, 2007   
I lowered the houses today to check for any more dead martins. There weren't any. This was our first official nest check. I found 20 nests and 2 eggs. The martins seem to be doing well - it got up to the mid-70's today. I also opened up the remaining 6 rooms. All rooms are open for a total of 62 cavities.

Apr 21, 2007   
We reported seeing our first sub-adult today. "Spotted an awkward male subadult trying to find a cavity. Verified with the spotted feathers on his chest and neck area with binoculars."

Apr 23, 2007   
A Cooper's hawk got one of the martins yesterday. We spooked the hawk when we pulled into the driveway and he flew off with the martin. The other martins were equally spooked by the hawk. We've been doing nest checks every 4-5 days but there hasn't been much change until today. We now have 28 nests. We removed the 2 eggs - they had been buried under additional nesting material. Current estimate - 90 to 100 birds.

May 4, 2007   
We had a female purple martin die today - I found it on the back porch. Very odd. 51 nests and 79 eggs.

May 7, 2007   
We found another female purple martin that had died - it may have been attacked by a starling. 56 nests and 139 eggs.

May 12, 2007   
We found 2 dead females during today's nest check. One of the females was sitting on an egg. Both had been killed by starlings. Harold has declared war on the starlings. 59 nests and 215 eggs.

May 17, 2007   
The starling problem has finally calmed down. We had our first eggs hatch. 60 nests, 243 eggs and 16 young.

May 20, 2007   
During today's nest check, we had a nest that had 7 babies in it last time and now it is empty. I'm guessing the parent removed all the babies. Odd. 61 nests, 212 eggs and 57 young.

May 26, 2007   
Last year we were in a drought. This year it won't stop raining. I guess the cool, wet weather is causing the martins to remove their eggs. We were missing 12 eggs during today's nest check. We also had another dead female in one of the nests. All 62 cavities have nests now. 151 eggs and 129 young.

Jun 5, 2007   
We removed a dead baby from a nest who had been suffocated/crushed by its siblings. That's a first. It doesn't look like our nest cam eggs are going to hatch. They were due at the end of May. 62 eggs, 217 young

Jun 11, 2007   
We had our first babies fledge a couple of days ago. 45 eggs, 234 young, 4 fledged

Jun 15, 2007   
We've had a couple of birds jumping out of the nests early. They were from the same nest. I kept putting them back, but today during the nest check, there was only 1 bird where there should have been 4. I don't think we get to count these as fledged - it was three days too early. We removed the eggs in the nest cam - maybe she'll re-lay. 16 eggs, 204 young, 43 fledged

Jun 22, 2007   
Its official - I'm sick of the rain. I've heard that we have gotten as much rain in May and June as we normally get in an entire year. So far, the rain doesn't seem to have affected the fledglings. Woo-hoo - 2 eggs in the nest cam room! 6 eggs, 139 young, 116 fledged

Jul 08, 2007   
Room T14-9 has a second pair in it - they've laid 3 eggs. 7 eggs, 32 young, 223 fledged

Jul 12, 2007   
All three eggs hatched in the cam room, but only one baby remains. The parents aren't feeding them. 3 eggs, 1 young, 255 fledged

Jul 25, 2007   
All three young in T14-9 disappeared. The second nesting was unsuccessful. Final tally: 343 eggs laid; 275 eggs hatched; 255 fledged.