When Purple Martin Babies Fall Out of the Nest

by Donna Lewis

So, we have a little time until our Purple Martins return, February 2022 to be exact.

If you prepare now, you won’t have to go out when it’s cold to build something. As my friends know, I do not like cold weather. That means that now is good time to brush up on things we might encounter when the Martins are here.

The series of photos show the temporary house for the stranded young bird.

A question I get often is, what do I do when a baby is on the ground? First of all, it’s not a good thing for sure.  But it happens.

I am only going to address this situation if the nestling is in good health but is not old enough to fly on its own. Sometimes they fall out, and sometimes they are knocked out by first-year Martins (teenagers) who like to get into mischief.

This happened to me last year and I was successful in helping the baby fledge (fly on its own).

I put together a makeshift emergency house for it, so the parents could feed it. It just needed a few more days until it could fly. I was not sure it would work, but I gave it a try, since staying on the ground is bad.

I had a feeder a friend made for me, and I added some cedar scraps I had to keep the wind out and protect it. I added some pine needles and a little nest in the corner and put it near the Gourd Rack up on a shepherd’s hook.

I watched for several hours, and nothing happened. Just as I was getting depressed thinking the baby was doomed, one of the parents brought it a bug. YES!!! Some success.

The parents only came once a day, but it was enough to save the baby. It was hungry and after the third day it jumped out and flew.   

The temporary home

I was so happy. So, you see that sometimes you can help a little bit and life goes on.

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