Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Purple Martins- Nest Replacement

Nest replacements are just another responsibility of a purple martin landlord and are done for several reasons:

1) The nest is wet from rain. Wet nests are not only detrimental to the health of nestlings, especially before they have developed their feathers (hypothermia), but also to eggs. Chilled eggs are subject to abandonment by the adults.

2) The nest is infested with ectoparasites such as mites, blowflies, fleas, etc. Extreme infestations can cause nestlings to jump from the housing (premature fledging) and worse can cause the parents to abandon the nestlings leaving them to starve. Seeing hundreds if not thousands of bird-nest mites can freak out the inexperienced landlord, but not to worry. All they'll do is crawl on you. They don't bite humans.

This was the reason I changed out this particular nest. The inside as well as the outside of the gourd was crawling with these tiny pests. I removed the nestlings from the gourd and placed them into a bucket for safe keeping until I finished. I removed the old nest and then with a hose washed out the inside as well as the outside of the gourd. I wiped it dry, placed fresh leaves and pine straw inside and then replaced the nestlings.

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