The Purple Martins are laying eggs
We went to the Boundary Waters area last week and got back Friday. Saturday I noticed the birds were acting "different" in a peaceful, happy way. That was certainly a change for this spring.
They were hanging around the gourds all morning and early afternoon. The males were chattering and staying very close to their mates. I thought some of the hens may have started laying eggs.
Later in the afternoon I decided to lower the rack and do nest checks.
I was right! Four gourds (numbers 3, 5, 6, and 12) had one egg each. Gourd 2 had FOUR eggs for a grand total of 8 for the start of the season.
Of my 16 gourds, 13 have very elaborate, sturdy, and well mudded nests. Three seem to be "bachelor" nests. Sometimes a male will dominate two gourds or house cavities. One is for his mate; he defends the other gourd to keep other males further away from her. They could also belong to young males that haven't managed to entice a female in yet.
This is the latest my colony has ever started nesting. The late, cold, wet spring, coupled with all the hawk woes, has made this the most challenging season yet.
I will check them again tomorrow to see if the rest of the girls have joined the egg party.