BABIES ON THE ROOF – NO ROOM AT THE INN

Posted on Jul 28, 2011 | 3 comments

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When 40 plus baby Purple Martins become teenagers where do they stay? At night, mom, dad and as many as five teenagers crowd into the nest box. But, by day, they head for the roof.
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The roof is a good place to get some air and, to watch and learn. It’s a great launch pad for their first experimental flig
hts.
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One night I heard noises coming from the nest boxes. Concerned that a raccoon, snake or other predator made it past the predator guard, I rushed out only to find that the noise was coming from the Martins themselves, as the jostled for a comfortable position in their stuffed full nest boxes.*

A few parent birds couldn’t take it anymore and risked their lives by spending the night outside the box, huddled as tight as possible against the outside wall, hoping not to be seen by a passing owl.
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There is always an adult or two with the teenagers. They are still too young and inexperienced to be left alone. When the Coopers hawk, which stalks them daily, comes anywhere near it is the adults who first cry the alarm and head for the sky where they can out maneuver the hawk and, with the support of the flock (and the nearby Red Winged Blackbirds), even manage to chase the hawk away. The older teenagers join the hawk expedition. The younger ones dive into the nest box.

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They are gone too soon. After cleaning out, painting, and setting up houses, watching the spring skies for scouts, checking nest boxes, changing nest material for the young birds who don’t have the hang of nest building yet, being awakened at 6 am by noisy adult birds trying to establish their position in the colony, being dive bombed by anxious parents when I mow or tend to the colony, and having a few special birds just sit no more than five feet away, looking at me with some unknown level of understanding  and acceptance … suddenly, they are gone. They won’t return from Central and South America for almost seven months. I suppose that it is their transient nature that makes them special.

 


3 Comments

  1. VERY NICE PAGE AND COLONY YOU HAVE THERE MY FRIEND.

  2. Congratulations. It look likes the deep chambered Amish houses did the trick. I suppose that I will have to invest in one. KB

  3. That’s so great, David! Great pictures!

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