Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Purple Martin Massacre

Today was our second Bird-walk offered in Lakeside, Ohio. We had another nice turn-out and with attendees from New York City and Florida, we had a pretty good span of the East coast covered! It is always fun to chat with other birders, and learn from them as well. Once again we ended the walk on the lakefront in front of our Purple Martin colony.

Unfortunately, the Purple Martins were highly excitable and one house was completely free of activity. We wondered why there seemed to be feathers stuck to the roof, and once we walked in closer, we witnessed a gruesome scene of shattered wings and Martin parts. The house cast a chill over our mood, like the Nightmare on Elm Street.

Nature is sometimes cruel, and the Purple Martins were a tasty morsel for something higher up the food chain. This colony seemed to fare the cold snap in June better than their inland counterparts, most likely because mayflies are so plentiful in this location. Sadly, now we learn the hard way how tough nature can be, the house was probably predated by a raccoon. The Purple Martin landlord, Bill Dudrow had new sheet-metal animal baffles installed on the poles before noon today.

Hopefully we will have cheerier news to report next time, you can go here to see a post of this colony in happier times.

Sorry to the botany fans- I promise to post some flora photos soon!

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, how awful! I sure hope those baffles work! We have purple martin in the Black Hills, but I haven't ID'd one yet (maybe I've seen them though!)