Friday, July 15, 2005

Early Staging

Coming home this afternoon, trying to beat the rain, we encountered a huge family event. On the telephone lines above the driveway, Niles and I counted at least 52 martins. Males, females, juvys, fledglings... everyone was excited about the rainfall and were busily preening and talking. It was incredible.

Looking out back, at least 5 more martins were perched on the house with several more flying about. Both babies had their heads sticking out watching and listening to all of the activity. Walking out just now to try and get a picture of them I found their apartment empty--hence the huge family reunion. They had fledged.

I have noticed every milestone this little family has had is finalized with huge familial support. Their first attempts at a family were met with disaster. I found burst eggs in the garden twice--the starlings were particularly vicious and finaly left the second time I pulled their nests from the apartments. I yanked the sparrow nests too (much to the delight of the dogs) but chose to let them rebuild as the martins didn't seem to be bothered by their overachieving nestbuilding.

I knew when the first nestling hatched as the extended family appeared one morning and circled the martin house for half an hour then disappeared. A week later, the same thing--25 martins circling the martin house making a huge racket. I could only sumrise the thought of a celebration as that seemed to be the only time they would visit.

And now they've come and gone, another milestone in the life of a martin. I wish I had kept better tabs on incubation etc... but I figure the professionals have done that.

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