Bob Rings Feeds PMs in the Snow
By Bob Ring / Shorewood, WI
"If they are hungry enough, they will feed." This was proven.
Weather in Northern Wisconsin can be very unpredictable, and we are usually noted for a small snowstorm or two in EARLY April, but one this late and this intense is quite unusual. We had birds arrive early in the month, and sometimes get them in late March. The weather was better then than it's been now.
I, myself have NEVER had success until the day I shot the video. A few conditions contributed to this. If you note in the video, my T-14 is only halfway up the pole. I began there where the martins were sitting on the porches. I threw food to them first, with no success for about a dozen tries. My movement caused some of the birds to fly away. I noticed a few take minimal interest by watching the crickets as they went to the ground. I finally had success by a female that missed a cricket the first time, then landed on the ground to get the next one.
Also, the day was almost perfectly calm; a major contributing factor. The martins knew it was too cold to feed, as the temperature was only 37 degrees. The crickets went up in the air, without the wind blowing them off course.
"If they are hungry enough, they will feed." This was proven. When I tried again a few days later during warmer sunny weather, the martins flew away when I made the motion of tossing the cricket. They were not at all interested, even though just two days earlier they learned to recognize me feeding them.
This video shows how I salvaged my martin colony this Spring. This is the first time I ever had luck with cricket tossing. I used 10 dozen crickets that day, and 200 mealworms.
Before the onset of cold and snow, I lowered my T-14 and kept it at half mast. This allowed me to monitor the house without the disturbance of lowering it and scaring the birds out. The day before I made the above video, the martins were holed up in the T-14. I monitored the house on a ladder, and found the active rooms by shining a flashlight inside. I then released numerous crickets and mealworms through the openings of these compartments. I counted at least 27 adults. I did retrieve 5 dead adults today, (they all weighed 32 grams) so not all managed to get some food. I also placed feeding trays on the T-14, and have daily placed live mealworms and crickets on these trays. The martins have taken to these nicely.
I'm sad to see dead adults, but feel very satisfied since I prevented many others from dying of starvation. Elmer Krushinske is very pleased about this as well, since he has experienced many losses in the past.
I hope that other landlords are having luck with supplemental feedings as well.
Bob Ring / Shorewood, WI