I’ve got a big update today on all the Purple Martin nesting activity so I’ll try and make it brief.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I really wanted to clean out nest one since it was so dirty. Today I decided to actually do it in the hopes that I wouldn’t do anything wrong. Since I’m doing the nest checks, Leecy was apparently running around with her camera phone taking pictures.
It’s not an easy thing doing nest checks with this Purple Martin house, as one person needs to disconnect the poles, while the other person moves the poles out of the way. Leecy normally holds the pole while I do the nest check, but instead she ran off to take a picture. This is nest one I am looking at.
It’s now day 24 for nest one, so the nest is getting really messy, with insect parts and poop all over the place. As you can see, it won’t be more than a few days before they become fledglings. You can also see that there are two sides to every nest. I wanted to take things slow since this is my first nest cleaning, so I just decided to replace the nesting material on the right hand side.
For better or worse, one of the babies was on the right hand side, so I had to temporarily remove it from the nest. I was amazed and how calm everyone was, babies and parents. No one squawked, no parents dive-bombed me, the baby that I was handholding remained quite calm other than pooping on my finger.
While I held the baby with one hand, I cleaned out the right side of the nest with my other hand. Like I said, lots of poop and insects parts (mainly heads). I then placed the baby back in the new nest. By the way, the nesting material I used was natural Aspen wood shavings.
As I was checking on the other babies in nest one, I noticed something odd. It was a dead baby, one that I obviously missed for several days. It did have some feathers, so I’m not sure when it may have passed.
Next we go on to nest two in which the babies are approximately 17 days old since they hatched. They have some nice feathers, and still a little down as well. It may look dead, but it was just trying to hide from me while I was doing the nest check.
The next nest is (you know what’s coming) , nest three. I say is day 17, but there is a difference between nest 2 and 3, and these babies look just a bit younger.
There is no nest four, well there is, but there’s no eggs or babies in there. One baby passed, one egg never hatched, and the rest of the eggs disappeared.
In nest 5 we had a surprise. This is the nest that has had eggs for at least 15 days. Leecy and I were thinking they would never hatch and were actually close to removing them from the nest. Well today we have 2 babies in nest 5, with 3 eggs that have still not hatched. I’m not sure if we were catching them right as they were hatching, or perhaps the other eggs will not hatch at all. I’ll have to do another nest check within the next day or two to find out.
We had another surprise in a new nest, nest 6. There are 3 eggs in this nest. Since the normal number of eggs is 5-6, perhaps these eggs were just laid today, and more will appear tomorrow.
And with that, you now have the big update on the Purple Martin nesting.