The season has barely begun and I already have a casualty. I had lowered the gourds a couple weeks ago to pull plugs from the crescent/porch gourds when I noticed a foul odor. Inside one of the gourds I found a dead ASY purple martin which had what appeared to be an injury on the one side of its head.
It is not uncommon for this to happen at the beginning of the season when males are involved in territorial battles for nesting sites and is definitely not the first time this has happened at my colony. This fighting also occurs between females (see this post "Intraspecific Fighting"
and "A Death in the Colony
"). Then again a European starling could be the culprit. It's really a shame that this bird survived its long arduous journey across the Gulf of Mexico to get back here, only to die in this fashion. I checked for bands, but none were found.
Labels: bird, european starling, intraspecific fighting, martins, martinwatch, nest-site competitors, pmca, puma, purple martin, swallow