The Purple Martins are laying eggs

caroline94535June 17, 2013

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.

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dees_1

That's good news! Everyone seems to be a bit slow this year because of the weather. I have babies in all different stages, with some getting ready to fledge.

We have 120 total compartments (36 just put up two weeks ago; 48 total added this season). I have about 60 pair with a few lone subbies flitting about.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 12:02PM
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marie_ndcal

I don't have any PM--but the others are late this year also. We have a Robin on a light fixture and a dove in the crabapple tree and my neighbor has an assorment. Still building and still nesting.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 9:06PM
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lily316

Lucky you. I have had a few robin's nests and at least three cardinal and catbird ones.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 1:42AM
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caroline94535

Lily, every one that enjoys any species of birds is lucky, too! I am very proud of my little PM colony though.

I don't know where they're nesting, but I have a pair of catbirds that visit my nectar feeder every day. Yes; they have a sweet tooth hidden in that sharp little beak!

I use an older style Opus nectar/"oriole" feeder. It has rubber plugs that function as bee guards. I took two of them off and was surprised at all the other birds that love sugar water when they can get too it. I've seen chickadees, house finches, purple finches, Hairy and Downey woodpeckers, and hummingbirds all using it, along with the expected orioles.

Of course, I don't have a photo of the catbird on it, but this is the nectar feeder all the yard birds enjoy.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 12:58PM
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caroline94535

Here's a Cape May warbler, on its migration from the Bahamas' to northern Canada enjoying some sugar water.

I put the nectar feeders out the first part of April, even though I have to bring them in at night to keep them from feezing. The early migrants love the treat.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 1:08PM
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glenda_al

Great pictures, Caroline!

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 8:20PM
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lily316

Love these pictures.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 2:37AM
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