A Successful Nesting Season!

A Successful Nesting Season!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Moving On....

After lots of rain, Mrs. Lamberton checked on our babies and found that they had moved on to their next destination. It has been a fun first purple martin season at Meadow Wood and we are hopeful that all of our purple martin friends will come back and nest in our colony again!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Sitting at home trying to get better, I must say I have been so worried about our little birds. After all, we have many followers and have watched the whole process.In addition, if they do not have a successful nesting season, the pair may not return. Well, just look what Mrs. Lamberton has to say about today! WOW!!!

Today, on Tuesday, the babies looked much better - more alert, fed and they were not very hungry at all. We checked on them and the nest looked fine, as we super stuffed it with clean cedar chips yesterday. The daddy was close by - and today - there was one adult, then another - yes, a pair circled for a good bit of time. Then we were joined by 2 other martins - and the four patrolled the whole time we were checking out the young. We had the very youngest who is looking a little scrawny eat one meal worm - but otherwise we checked them out by lifting the top and taking some photos. We also discovered the wings of a dragonfly - we guess they ate it up all by themselves :)

We also used a trick to help encourage the babies not to go out the front once the house was raised - we stuffed a sock in the hole which was attached to a long rope. We raised the house and let it stay for a moment, but the daddy was really in a hurry to come back in, so after a few minutes, we pulled the sock and the daddy flew in to check on everyone. They family chirped back and forth very happily.

Thank you Mrs. Lamberton and friends for stepping in and being part of the community that loves and cares for these littles birds! You ROCK!

Update from Mrs. Lamberton

Although we feared the worst, we brought down the purple martin babies with their daddy flying around overhead to check us out. The babies seemed scared, quiet, and not very animated, but the three martins - oldest, middle and baby are doing ok. They ate meal worms from our hands! They opened their beaks and three 5th graders, Nathan Fishman, Griffin Green and Mason Lamberton stuffed them in. The oldest martin ate 4; the middle martin ate 4 worms - only in halves, and the baby got a tiny worm in.

Once the babies got some food, they began to chirp and wake up. We contacted the Purple Martin Society and got some good advice on working with the nest changes and ways to prevent the birdies from fledging (taking flight) too early. They are about 6-8 days away from taking flight and we don't want them to take off from their nest too early. We will begin to check them a little less frequently. We also found out that at this stage the birds have messier nests (not so much cleaning from the mom and dad) as that may encourage the birds to start to think about finding their way out of their beloved house! Also the dad has been leaving 2-3 inch dragonflies - which are bigger than the babies, but the babies CAN eat those at this stage as well. And the lice (white specks) that we noticed are always there and live on the martins all their lives - in fact, they will start eating them at some point for nutrition!

We are cautiously optimistic with our mommy martin absent, but daddy is doing a great job.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

We may have a problem!

After being sick and in bed for days, I finally persuaded my husband and kids to go with me to check on the birds that we have invested so much time and love in for the past months! When we arrived, there was only one bird, male in appearance, perched on the starburst. One of our nestlings had fallen out of the nest and didn't make it. Opening the pod, we were very surprised to see conditions much different than previous checks. The pod was FILTHY!!! The mother has not cleaned it out lately and there were 2 dead dragonflies inside. This worried us for quite a few reasons!
1. The mother usually cleans out all th poop and keeps a tidy nest.
2. Only 1 martin flew overhead for a short amount of time.

Now, the babies did not appear hungry, but they were very scared as you can imagine. We put more nesting material in and I am researching what to do! I do not want to assume they are abandoned because someone (maybe the male) has been bringing bugs into the pod, but at the age of our nestlings, I am not sure they are ready to eat full bugs quite yet. I plan on calling wild birds first hing in the morning, but if you have nay advice or ideas, please post so that we can work together to take care of these little ones we have helped to raise! Stayed tuned for more info soon!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 20 and 22nd!

Our babies hatched on June 7, 8, and 9th and now are about 13 days old. It is amazing how much they have grown. Today we decided to add more nesting material because the little ones were snuggled up on the plastic. We took each one out, inspected them for any bugs and put them in a comfy box. Fahad, Caden, and Mrs. Campbell all helped in this fun process! It is neat to see how more developed the last one born is compared to the first born! Mrs. Snyder came with us today and was eager to hold them since this was her first time to see them live! I will post a slideshow soon of the recent pictures! I have been looking in our Stokes Purple Martin Book and this is what is says about the age of our martins:

By day 14 emerging feather tips on wings and tail are about 1/4-1/2 inch long and the body and head are covered with feathers. You can still see pin feathers on the back and the whitish sheaths of the wing and tail feathers. At this age the nestlings will begin to show fear when the nest compartment is opened.

Our observations match this info exactly! Luckily we checked them today because one of the babies was actually quite close to the entrance! I sure don't want any of them falling out! Until next time..enjoy our new photos!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Quite a Surprise!

Driving to the paint store today, I looked over at the martin houses, as I always do, and was SHOCKED to see the big white house lowered all the way down! OH NO! My first thought was about the babies...hopefully nobody messed with the pods. I went over to the houses and I was greeted by our nesting pair. They seemed happy to see me..:) Looking at the white house crank, it looks like someone wiggled the cord until they could turn the crank. No damage to the house, lock or crank thank goodness! I put it back up and left. I will be going up in the morning, so if you want to join us we should be there between 9 and 10, I'd say 9:15!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Interesting morning!

After a few days of rest, I met my friends Jack, Maddie and Fahad at the martin houses. When we arrived there were 9 martins perched on the starburst...it was quite a beautiful sight. We walked closer and all of them flew around us singing their familiar song. We took down the pods and of course looked in all the others first, saving the excitement for the end. There were no new drastic changes, maybe a few new pieces of grass here and there. We still are not sure if another pair is nesting, but we are hopeful. One observation we made was a LARGE pile of bird poop on the roof of one of the pods. When we opened our pod #5, the babies were all curled up and there was not a drop of poop OR nesting material! VERY STRANGE! However, I believe the mother keeps her house clean, just like most mommies! Our little guys have a busy mom, that is for sure! We are thinking we need to put more nesting material in, but I am going to read about it first. Does anyone have any thoughts about adding a nest for them? The other new observation that we made was the emerging feathers. My photos are not too clear for some reason, but the tail feathers are bright and you can see the beautiful indigo coloring. Their little bodies have emerging down feathers that are super soft and their eyes are beginning to open more. I did pick one up, careful to avoid instant poop, and it is just amazing to think that these little creatures we waited for are really here! I will be heading back to MWE on Sunday morning, so let me know your thoughts and send me an email if you would like to join me!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday, June 15th

Well, I thought I would not go every single day now that the babies are here. I will eiher go tomorrow or Thursday, probably Thursday. So if you love seeing pictures or want to join me...let me know and we can arrange for you to be there and help me out! Hope everyone is enjoying my new slideshow with music and the summer, of course!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sunday, June 13th

Well, as you can see, I have created another slide show! The first pictures are from Thursday. It is hard to believe how much they have changed in just 3 days! They are MUCH bigger and all of them are beginning to show signs of feathers emerging. If you hold your mouse at the bottom of the slide show, my captions will appear. If you look closely at the grass pictures, you will actually see purple feathers. Ellie, Fahad, Avery and I were so worried when we first approached the houses and saw that a predator had taken one of our birds from us! Luckily, our pair as well as another pair came flying over and relieved our fears! We did find a larger sparrow nest in pod #6 and removed it today. The other nests still look the same, so I am wondering if the martin pair we saw today might be building a nest? Is it too late in the season? Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

June 9, 2010

Today was an exciting day at the Purple Martin houses! It was quiet when I arrived, not a bird in sight! A roof from pod #7 had been blown off in the storm, so I lowered the pods and put it back. All the other pods looked the same as the day before. No new sparrow nests, but also no new additoins if more martins are building. WHile the houses were down, our sweet little pair of martins came flying over. They made lots of noise....and when I opened pod #5, I saw why! All 5 of the babies have now hatched!!! YEAH!!! It is no neat to see the varying sizes of the babies in the order they were born. The newest one is just so tiny. I did see more mites so I nervously decided to do a nest change. I read up on this ALOT in the past few days, so I new I had to go quick! I took out the nest and put it in a bucket, then I cleaned out pod#5 real good. I placed fresh cedar chips and made a little bowl to place the babies in comfortably. I picked the babies up 1 at a time to inspect for parasites...luckily they were ALL clean. One observation I made was the skin is really pink and a little see-through. Their bellies are so fat compared to their little necks. The new collage I posted above shows the process from the 4 eggs to our new 4 little miracles! The last 2 pictures are the momma and daddy coming to check on their little ones!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 8, 2010

If you have not read yesterday's blog, PLEASE DO!!! We have exciting news!!! I am working on making a video with my pcitures Fahad took today, so check back often and see if it is posted! I will be going tomorrow morning to change out the nest material because we have seen some bugs!!!If you have any questions about this new exciting event...just ask and I will post an answer!

Monday, June 7, 2010

June 7, 2010 Congratualtions, it's....

baby purple martins!! That's right...I was shocked to open up the lid of pod #5 and see 2 tiny pink little baby martins lying on top of the two unhatched eggs! What an amazing site and so exciting after the long wait! Momma flew around as we checked the nest. As we left, the pair perched on the starburst. We watched as the male martin stood guard and momma checked on her new little ones. We will be doing a nest change soon and checking daily for mites, parasites and any other bugs that are a danger to the babies! Check back tomorrow to see if the other 2 eggs hatched later in the day! Tell everyone you know...MWE has baby martins! YEAH!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday June 6 Nest Check

My friend Fahad and I went to check on the purple martins today! The first 2 photos are nests that were not full swallow nests. Could they be the starts of new martin nests? The third picture are the eggs and the final picture is of the mom and dad of the eggs! The female martin is sitting in front of her pod #5 and the male purple martin is perched on the starburst. We did not see any other martins during our visit! Let me know what you think about the other nests! We will check the eggs in the morning to see if any have hatched.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

June 5, 2010

Unfortunantly I did not make it to the bird houses today. I apologize to my followers, but will go for SURE in the morning!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday, June 4th Could there be a new nest?

Well, we went for our nest check and once again I am happy to report no sparrows nests were found. The nest is ALL green grass and in a bowl like a purple martin makes!!!! While I was there, three martins sang and were very social. I checked on the eggs and then promised I'd be back tomorrow. I look forward to your opinions on this mystery nest when I post a pic tomorrow!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June 2nd Final Check with 2nd Graders

The 2nd graders all went out yesterday to check the open pods one last time before 5th grade graduation and the end of school. The students and Mrs. Campbell, a loyal purple martin landlord, had noticed quite a bit of sparrow activity in the pods since the boarding up of the white condos. Sure enough, the sparrows had built a HUGE nest in pod #4. After waiting 2 full days to check, they had time to build and then lay 3 eggs. Truly amazing! It makes me wonder if we should open some of the white condos to keep the sparrows away from the pods? Other than removing any sparrow nests, the other important job of the landlords is to make sure no birds or predators are getting to the precious eggs. Our momma martin flew out of her pod when we arrived and stayed close, circling just above us the entire time. She is such a protective mom! :) Our eggs were just fine and looking at the additional leaves in the nest and the position of the eggs, we could tell that the martin pair have been working to make things comfortable when the babies hatch! Though school is now over, I will be checking the houses often. You can BET I will be there June 6,7 and so on to check if there is any cracking in the eggs! Check back for times I might be going and you are welcome to join me!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June 1, 2010

Good evening purple martin followers! The last nest check was on Sunday, May 30, 2010. Mrs. Lamberton met me at school to assess the sparrow problem that we have been having. All of our observations led us to believe that the purple martins are not interested in the white condos right now. However, we did find a sparrow nest AGAIN in one of the condos. So, we decided to board up this house with clothespins for the time being! We checked the pods that the martins really enjoy and found NO SPARROW nests which is wonderful! Our 4 little eggs are still there and hopefully getting ready for the big day sometime around June 7th! We will go out with all of second grade to check the pods together one last time. HOWEVER, please check the blog because I will continue to visit the houses and keep all of you informed about what is happening! I have the flip camera ready for the little babies to hatch! This continues to be an exciting time for all of us!Check back in the morning for our nest check update!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

May 29, 2010

I did the daily nest check this morning and the martins continue to keep the sparrows out of the pods!!! After a couple of minutes 3, then 4, then 5 martins came and circled above us as we checked for nests. Pod #5 continues to have the 4 eggs with the projected hatch date of June 7th. No other pods had nests. In the big white house, I found a LARGE sparrow nest with an egg. We removed the nest and the egg.

Friday, May 28, 2010

May 27-28 Nest Checks

We are happy to report that the martins are thriving in our colony! I am so very proud of our landlords for taking such good care of them! On Thursday we invited the 4th grade "original" landlords to see the martin nest. They LOVED it and so did the purple martins!! They were extremly social and showed off a bunch!The nest check revealed sparrow nests in the white house, but NOT the pods!!! This is major progress and shows us that the sparrows are getting the message. We have also observed the purple martins defending their territory and running off the sparrows. Due to the MWE talent show, our nest check was later today at 11:00. It was interesting to find NO martins out there, but TONS of dragonflies. However, it didn't take long for them to hear us and they came soaring through the air. They once again have defended the pods and kept out the sparrows. This is GREAT news as we head into the holiday weekend. Our 4 little eggs are doing well and their parents seem to be adding leaves to make it nice and comfortable! Check in this weekend for an update!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Flying in! by Elise

Here is a slide show of the adult male martin that was VERY social today with his 7 other friends. What a beautiful and wonderful sight! Click on the green link below called "Flying in by Elise" and turn up the volume a little. Enjoy!

Flying in! by Elise

May 26, 2010 Is a Colony Beginning?

What an amazing sight this morning as we went for our nest check! We saw 8 MARTINS!!! Look closely at the photo and you will see them all! They were very social and showed interest in our pods! Pod #5 has 4 eggs and the projected hatching date is June 7th. Based on the observations today, we may have more nest building. Our Purple Martin book says males will start to sing to females and there may be fights to claim ownership over nest holes. Our observations were consistent with this as the male martin kept hovering around the pods. At times it seemes as if he was peeking inside to see which might be the best! The 2nd graders decided to remove all clothespins that were blocking sparrows from entering the pods because of this new interest showed by the martins. Needless to say....we are VERY EXCITED TODAY! Be sure to look at the photo slideshow to see firsthand what we experienced!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 25 Afternoon Nest Check

After finding the same 4 eggs this morning in our purple martin nest, we decided to check this afternoon just to make sure our female was finished. When we went out, the momma bird flew out of pod #5 and started to fly around and sing! We quickly checked the nest and the 4 eggs were still there. so, it looks like the previous prediction was correct. Our martins are inexperienced and this is probably their first nest. This gives us even more reason to keep an eye on them and help them have a successful nesting season! Check back in the morning for our next update!

May 25, 2010

This morning we had some third grade guests join us for our daily nest check! They were landlords last year, but since no martins stayed, we wanted them to have a chance to see a REAL martin nest. After all, they have helped in this process too! While we were out there, the purple martins were VERY SOCIAL! They flew and dove all around us. We could see 2 of them with leaves in their mouths. The female even went in her pod #5. However, when we checked the nest, there were still 4 eggs. We think she may be an inexperienced martin. If so, then she might not lay any more! Check back to see what we find this afternoon.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 24, 2010

When the second graders went out this morning at 8:30 am, there was quite a surprise waiting for them during the nest check! Yes, we had additional sparrow nests, but when we looked in the purple martin nest...the female momma martin was sitting with her eggs! WHAT A BEAUTIFUL SIGHT! We captured a picture and then raised the house. She stayed in there for quite awhile and even had a visit from the male martin who brought her a leaf to cover the eggs. We are not sure if there are 4 eggs, but we plan on checking later to see!
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May 23, 2010

At 8:50 am this morning, we went up to do a nest check. Once again we found a sparrow nest with an egg. This time it was in pod number 4, so we put a clothespin over it to keep out the sparrows. When we checked the purple martin nest...we had 3 EGGS!!!! I wonder how many eggs our female purple martin will lay?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22, 2010

When I went up to school today to do a nest check, I was excited to find another egg in pod#5. The purple martins have now laid 2 eggs, 1 a day. I also removed a large sparrow nest with an egg inside. I am excited to go up tomorrow morning to see if we have egg number 3!