Friday, March 7, 2008

Purple Martins are back

Thomas Wiatt's Purple Martins have returned, Thomas writes........

Wiatt’s Martin Manor is pleased to welcome it’s first tenant of 2008! I am confident that this male purple martin is one of 2 pair that I hosted last year.
Martins have a very strong site fidelity and it would be rare to attract a martin this early unless it had been successful at the site the previous year. I can tell he is an ASY (after second year) male because of his solid black/purple coloring. A female or a juvenile male would have a lighter breast.

He has wintered in South America (probably Brazil ) and I am very happy to have him home. When he saw me he circled around me singing so I think he is happy to be back too. I have built a new T14 purple martin house over the winter with 14 luxury apartments, owl guards, rear vents, slide out nesting trays, and 4 Troyer horizontal gourds. This martin successfully nested in a gourd last year, so he has chosen a gourd again this year.

I don’t know what the survival rate will be for the babies from last year. I fledged 10, and they should follow in March or April. It is a rough journey across the gulf, and it will be interesting to see how many make it back to this site.

I put the old house up so he would recognize it. It has been converted into an oyster bar on one side offering crushed oyster shells for dietary grit, and a hay market on the other side offering fresh pine needles for easy nest building. The old house looks like a doll house compared to the new one.

Your slum lord in the sky,


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