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.