View Full Version : Louisiana Martins Enmasse!
01-22-2007, 09:15 AM
What a nice surprise to wake up to the sound of not one or two, but seven martins chattering wildly over my soon-to-be former site. In the 14 years since I've managed this site, I've never seen so many martins on first sighting. It's always been between one and three martins. This tells me that the sideways cold front with the low center riding it up must be ideal for the martins' push north. It also makes me think that rather than a trans-Gulf migration, these birds probably take a coastal route maybe "cheating" over the Gulf when the winds are ideal like yesterday and today.
01-22-2007, 11:40 AM
Kenny. You say "Soon to be former site." You moving?? CUL Lou
01-22-2007, 01:25 PM
Yeah, Lou Babe, after 14 years of developing a 150-pair martin colony, 10 Wood Duck boxes that host 2 or 3 clutches a season each and my darling resident pair of bluebirds, I'm moving across town to a townhouse I've been trying to purchase for 10 years.
You hear the horror stories of colony declines due to martineers dying but this is worse. My daughter lives next door to me and I'll have to come back and experience the many neighbors who have houses that don't know (and don't care) about the difference between a sparrow and a martin. I've moved some of the houses and a couple of the neighbors do a decent job of managing thier houses but most of them will have serious problems.
I'll be sending all of them a letter telling them that they are on thier own and to call me for "free advice" when they experience the problems they are going to have.
Maybe you can come buy my place and get all the martins you ever dreamed of! :-)
01-22-2007, 05:26 PM
I was so happy to see your name appear but that happiness lasted but a moment.
Moving? That is good and bad news. Good for you, I am sure but bad for the martins.
But, like you always say, "In Louisiana, you need only hold a shoebox up for five minutes and you have martins."
For folks in the north, having a successful martin site and moving means a loss of martins.
I have seen where a man's colony of 110 pairs was devastated by raccoon predation one year and he never got his birds back and no one in the area reported a huge influx of martins either.
When I moved from one town in the Chicago Metro area to another and my colony was one of, maybe, three successful martin sites in Dupage County, we found that only one landlord four miles away found an increase in their birds at their colony that season.
What happens to these birds?
For your birds, I would expect that the unmonitored colonies will do ok for a few seasons, but as sparrows and neglect set in, all the wonderful martin work you have done on that lake site will fall into disrepair and the colony will become a colony in decline.
I wish it weren't true, Kenny, but it will probably happen that way.
I wish you much happiness in your new house (townhouse). At certain times in our lives, we make life changing decisions and downsizing when we are a wee bit older ;-) is something we must do. We no longer need the trappings of a larger house as we get older.
So, where does this leave you in bluebirds and martins? Completely out of it?
Good luck! I hope you will stay with us as long as you can--even after you move. You have contributed so much to the PM interest, Kenny. It is a shame to loose you completely.
01-22-2007, 08:36 PM
All is not lost, Terry; I have already purchased an 8-hole Trio for what little tree-encroached area might possibly attract a pair or two. I will still manage my 150 and 50 nestbox bluebird trails in an adjacent parish (county). Plus, I am starting a 20 nestbox wood duck trail in a swamp in the same area as the bluebird trails. I cut my teeth on martins before getting interested in other cavity nesters - I'll not forget who "brought me to the dance."
What I am hoping will happen is that these people with martin houses have just been enabled to be lazy by me. with me gone, they will be in a position to understand what is necessary to have a healthy martin colony. I'll know when they start calling me with "what do I do about those little brown birds?"
By the way, I resigned from NABS. I got involved in some horrible politics that soured me on the whole organization. NABS makes PMCA look like saints. :-) Why is it when such noble causes operate on a grand scale, the birds get forgotten and all that is focused on is money and memberships? Oh well, I'll retreat to the woods, manage my birds and mind my own business.
01-22-2007, 10:47 PM
A Trio Grandma is not even a real martin house!
If you are gonna have a martin house, get a 12-holer one!
Sorry to hear about NABS. Unfortunately, what you say about politics in bird orgs is so true. People forget what brought them to the dance as you mention. That is such a great line!
I like to think that what I say all the time is true here.
The Purple Martin is the bottom line!
I want you to stay in martins, Kenny! I feel you have greatly contributed much to the interest locally and nationally over the years.
How do you think the martins are doing in South LA since Katrina? Were you at the Lake Pontchartrain Bridge last season and if so, what did you see?
Go Bears! Da Bears!
01-23-2007, 05:04 PM
Now, Terry, I have several 8-holers and I thnk they are wonderful starter houses. Of course, I wouldn't own a Trio that has not been double-compartmentalized (I love that word). So really, I will be starting with a 4-holer. I guess that's even worse. :-)
Where I am moving, I have very little room and where I am putting this 4-holer will actually be on common ground for the whole subdivision so, I don't want to push my luck. Everyone knows what happens when some individual complains about birds. I was able to develop a 150-pair colony in a subdivision because I did it by getting as many neighbors as possible to put a house up in their yard. If I had all those birds in my backyard, I'd have been given a "cease and desist" a long time ago!
I'll start slow and easy and let everyone experience the magic before imposing on them.
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