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Purple Martins update; new birds, missing female

15 years ago

I think two of the nestlings fledged last evening. I'm not sure; I do know for certain there are still three little faces peeping out of the gourd this afternoon.

I have not seen, with certainty, the female parent martin since Sunday. Wes thinks he saw her feeding the young Tuesday. For the past two days I've seen only the male parent bringing in food. He's looking a bit bedraggled. I've spent most of the day glued to the front window with binoculars stuck to my face.

Today there are several new birds flying around the rack, perching on the arms, and going in and out of all the gourds, including the active Gourd #1. There are two new ASY males and what I thought at first was the new fledglings. Grabbing the binoculars, I discovered that the visitors are three SY males and the two ASY males, in addition to "my" parent male.

I'm worried about the mama martin. They don't abandon a nest unless they're dead. I also don't know why the extra ASY males have shown up.

It is common for bands of unattached SY males to be attracted to other sites about to fledge young. They can wreck havoc, (think young teenaged-gang!) but it's all part of nature's plan. One theory is they encourage the young to fledge and leave the area. It keeps the gene pool mixed up if the young are chased off from their hatching site. Fledglings from other sites are also driven off by their SY males and will, in turn, settle at other sites.

I've seen one of the SYs go into the babies' gourd, but he came right back out. I hope they thumped him, instead of the other way around.

This is Day 29 for my nestlings. Things are just getting more and more interesting.

ASY - After Second Year...a fully mature Purple Martin that has complete its second migration to and from Brazil. Both the males and females will have their adult plumage at this stage.

SY - Second Year...Purple Martins that hatched the previous year and have completed one migration to and from Brazil. They do not have their full adult plumage. They will, on occasion, mate and rasie young, but not always.

Here is a link that might be useful: Purple Martin Conservation Association

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