Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Every spring we anxiously await the arrival of the martins. I heard some scouts a couple of weeks ago and just saw a couple flying overhead around the single martin house that we have in the back yard. This morning when I drove in the driveway after taking the kids to school, I noticed quite a bit of activity in the sky over our house. Initially, I thought that there were a bunch of cow birds probably eating my bird seed or something, but upon closer examination, I discovered that the birds were martins. We have had this house up for about 6 years now and I have never seen this many martins in or around it. The past couple of years we have gladly extended our hospitality to a couple of martin families. We have watched the babies learn to fly and felt a little heart ache when they left for warmer climates. The great thing about the martins is that they always come back, and this year they brought friends. I'm not sure if they will stay this ample throughout the summer or if some of these guys are just passing through on their way to other farms and towns. 
There is a sparrow hawk lurking about whom we have seen attacking the cow birds. Kyle has been commissioned to protect the martins by eliminating this hawk should he attempt to destroy our brood. Kyle did get a shot at him earlier this spring and only managed to rid him of a few tail feathers. We thought this would keep him away but we have seen him, missing tail feathers and all, flying about our farm. I don't know what the "rules" are about killing hawks, so ya'll don't tell on us. I guess we could catch him and try to rehabilitate him, give him a lecture on killing innocent birds and sticking to a diet of mice and rats and other vermin, but I doubt that this would be effective. Maybe there is such a thing as a hawk relocation program?? 
Anyway, we are excited that the martins are back. I hope that the flock stays large for we have plenty of insects for them to eat and my gardening would be much less exciting if I didn't have martins flying overhead, protesting my presence beneath their home. 

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