Friday, February 6, 2009

OLD ABANDONED HOUSE AT THE EDGE OF THE LAKE


This martin house is on my next-door neighbors' property. They live in Ohio, and usually come up several times over the summer. I'm always glad to see them and enjoy their company, but I think they are both up in their 80s now, and they sometimes talk of selling the place, because the trip is getting to be a hassle. Some of the upkeep is harder, too. My lawn guy also cuts their grass, and I pick up the odd branch that falls, but I doubt the martin house has been cleared and cleaned in a long time; perhaps never. Every summer I see birds check it out, some with twigs in their beaks, and some appear to be staying there, but I have never seen any babies launched. Yesterday, even with all the snow and cold we still have, I saw a starling and a sparrow or two fly up and poke their heads into some of the openings, and even try to squeeze in, without much success. I think I will ask my neighbors next time they visit how they used to clean it. Looks to me like an extension ladder would be needed, and a couple of strong friends to hold it steady - it's right on the edge of the breakwall, and a tumble onto the rocks below wouldn't be fun!

I've been reading up on purple martins, and though I see them catching insects over the water, they seem to be very particular about their nesting sites, and so I wonder if sparrow and starlings would be all that move in if the house were to be cleaned. A house on a telescoping pole is what's recommend for easy access, but this old model doesn't have one of those. Perhaps it's doomed to be a spooky old neighborhood relic that young birds challenge each other to go and perch on for a few seconds if they dare.

15 comments:

Sian said...

Hey, perhaps you'll get the martin equivalent of Boo Radley moving in...

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Good Morning Deb, We have alot of people in TN who have those houses for Martins. I've heard that Martins eat mosquitos. So --that makes them pretty special in this 'neck of the woods.'

Have a great weekend.
Hugs,
Betsy

Tink *~*~* said...

There are similar birdhouses in the EPCOT park at Disney World in Orlando. They're situated behind the Electric Umbrella restaurant, to your left as you are walking toward Mission Space. I never knew they were supposed to house purple martins.

Tink *~*~*
Six Mile Cypress Sky at My Mobile Adventures *~*~*

Poetikat said...

In my experience, martins are very picky birds. My dad put up a purple martin house in our backyard - a pair came and did "fly-by" and left, never to return. They must have spread the word, because no other martins ever came either. A whole lot of sparrows lucked out though.

Kat

Kallen305 said...

From what I understand, many martin houses go unused by the martins and the house sparrows take over.

I think it would be wonderful to offer to clean it. I bet they would love to see birds in there when they are up north during the summer.

Very cute little house.

gel(Emerald Eyes) said...

Our coons knock out birdfeeders and houses. :(
Photo of bird habitats - love 'em
and learning facts I have forgotten or not known.
As a child I'd draw birds. Not seen a purple martin in a while. Time to birdwatch again!

have a good weekend!

Lin said...

interesting dilemma-I can see someone up there on a tall ladder tettering around in the wind trying to clean out an old birdhouse for new tenants. Now that's a task!

bobbie said...

Perhaps they'd be willing to cut it down and replace the pole with one that telescopes. I wouldn't want to see an elderly couple trying to make the climb.

SandyCarlson said...

So that's what those high rises are for. I just learned plenty, Deb. Thanks. I hope your elderly neighbors enjoy their time up there for as long as they can.

Kathiesbirds said...

We have purple martins here in the summer where they nest in the Saguaros! Perhaps the old house is full of mites as well as ghosts! It would be nice to clean it out and see if any new neighbors move in. BTW, I finally have a new poem up on Kathies Poet Tree blog if you are interested.

Sylvia K said...

A haunted bird house, maybe? Great photo and it does look cold! Still!

mom/caryn said...

That's a great looking bird house. It's a shame to see it unused... but, it would be an even greater shame to have to drive a neighber to the E.R. to reset a broken bone.

Is there any chance the lawn guy could be paid a little extra to clean it out?

Robert V. Sobczak said...

Our biologist puts up purple martin houses down here in the preserve, when the are passing through down here. They've been doing it for years, and probably have some good stories about it if you are interested ...

Cloudia said...

"Perhaps it's doomed to be an spooky old neighborhood relic that young birds challenge each other to go and perch on for a few seconds if they dare. "
Clever, You! Aloha-

Quiet Paths said...

This was really interesting; I know next to nothing about PM. You might need an orchard ladder to get up there...