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VS Ryan
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 Low insect populations

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VS Ryan
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Join date : 2010-02-07
Age : 36
Location : Niceville, FL

PostSubject: Low insect populations   Wed Feb 17, 2010 4:15 am

mikenlinda wrote:
No. No insulation. The house is made of red cedar. Inside is a bed of pine straw, it is very comfy/cozy for them. The problem, I believe is that there are not many insects for them to eat and also the journey is very cold and wet. I think once they find safe housing they are ok except for the low number of insects at this time.

This is a dilema for sure. Some of the solutions mentioned were to flip crickets to them, scrambled eggs, import dragonflies and devise a contraption to suspend crickets in the air for the martins to pick up.

These are all great ideas but the more the marrier. Anybody have any other ideas, or can you expand on some of these?
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mikenlinda
Purple Martin Adviser


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Join date : 2010-02-11
Location : Niceville, Florida

PostSubject: Re: Low insect populations   Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:19 am

This is actually a very controversial topic. To be honest with you, Ryan, I do not fall on the side of supplemental feedings.

I am aware that it is very common among landlords of purple martins and I understand why they are doing it. None of us can bear to see our little tenants suffer and lose their lives. However, I am among those that believe it is just such practices that have encouraged our feathered friends to return too early.

I believe that supplying food for the very earliest arrivals gives them a false sense of securtity that they can thrive here earlier and earlier each year. Unfortunately, a lot of the younger birds, I believe, follow the older ones when migration begins.

There are far more landlords that do not supplement than those that do. Also, a landlord that does one year may not able or available to do so the next year. What then happens to his colony of early arrivals?

I believe nature and God takes care of these things and tells the birds when to migrate based on weather conditions and food supply. The insects are just not plentiful when it is so cold.

Man tends, I think, to intervene a little too much at times, often with the very best of intentions.

This is exactly how our puple martins are so very dependent on manmade houses. Over the years, we have trained them to seek out our houses. That coupled with destroying there natural habitat has created a situation whereas we MUST now provide housing for them.

Just my thoughts. I am more than willing to hear anyone elses.
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VS Ryan
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PostSubject: Re: Low insect populations   Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:41 pm

Well how about the weather? It has been drastically colder here than usual, so I'm sure something has to have been effected in South America. When the Gulf Stream heated up the sharks came early, could it be the same sort o situation here?
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mikenlinda
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Join date : 2010-02-11
Location : Niceville, Florida

PostSubject: Re: Low insect populations   Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:50 pm

Absolutely. We have no way of knowing exactly why this happens. It could be the weather. However, I would think they instinctively follow the weather and the insects to warmth.

You definintely have a point toward the supplemental feeding arguement. If it is something else driving them here, then yes, the weather being so cold will cull out the weaker birds. Supplemental feedings will certainly save martins that would probably have perished otherwise.

Populations of all species have been effected by changes in climate, etc.
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