Where are my Martins
Back in the mid forty's, when GranPa was a small boy of nine, my folks purchased a house with a large yard in the big city of Lueders, Texas.

Out in the back yard of the new house was a three inch diameter bird house pole about thirty feet in the air. However, there was no bird house on the pole.

After getting settled into the new house, My father found a Martin Bird House in the Sears & Roebuck Catalog which was a three story one with 12 rooms and it looked like a Farmers Barn.

He took the catalog with the bird house picture down to Mr. Loop, an old guy who ran a cabinet shop and who had recently made a large oak desk for my father.

My father ask Mr. Loop if he thought he could make a bird house like that which was in the Sears & Roebuck catalog. Mr. Loop thought that he could. But, dad says he never told him to make it. About a week later Mr. Loop called my father to tell him his bird house was ready for pick up.

Dad was surprised and voiced his disgruntled opinion about somebody building something he had not been authorized to build. However, my father thought the least he could do was look at the house and tell Mr. Loop face to face he had not ordered the bird house and did not want it.

Well, after looking at the house, my father was so pleased, he just paid for the house and never said a word about it not being authorized.

The house was just like the Sears one except much better. Mr. Loop had added some extras such as more porches and a little chimney on top painted so it looked just like it was made from real little bricks.

So, my dad never told Mr. Loop he had not ordered the house. Instead he told everybody in town the story of how he came to have a mighty fine Martin Bird House and the excellent workmanship of Mr. Loop.

Being a boy of that age, my only interest in birds was as targets for my Red Ryder BB gun.

I recall my father maintaining a watch for the Martins which never came.

After about 2 years and no Martins, I recall Dad raising a guy up on a cable with his oilwell servicing unit to cut the entry holes larger because he had thought that they might be too small for the Martins.

My remembrance tells me that after about three years, My father lost interest and gave up to the Texas Sparrows who loved the house dearly.

And so my adolescent years were in part spent in taking pot shots at the Sparrows who nested in the house and then catching the devil from my father for marking the bird house up with the BB's.

Of course, I denied shooting at the bird house and always blamed it on Carol Felts who also had a BB Gun and lived across the street from us.

I grew into manhood never knowing what a Martin bird looked like.

After moving to Titusville. Florida in 1965. My own son, Ray Jr. and I built a one room bird house as a cub scout project and put it on a pole in the back yard.

Over the years, that house raised all sorts of birds and even two litters of squirrels. but alas, never a Martin. It finally rotted off the pole and by 1985 all that was left was the bottom of the house.

I had long since made our small back yard a sanctuary for any wild life that choose to visit there.

We have for years had a bird feeder and a squirrel feeder, including a special house just for the squirrels. We have even built an outdoor fish pond with a waterfall.

Therefore, on occasions, I had to give my son the devil for doing the very same things I had done at his age.

But, bless my heart, here I was in the summer of 1985, 51 years old and did not even know what a Martin looked like.

AND, I was back in Texas on vacation and sailing down State Road 36 coming out of Houston on my way to Lueders when I passed a car parked along side the road with several Martin bird houses on the hood and top of the car.

Well, did I want to take a look or not? I debated for what must have been five miles. Finally making the decision to go back. Here was an old guy who built Martin houses as a hobby in his retirement years. He had all sizes and shapes to choose from. I selected a three story one with 12 rooms. It looked like a farmers barn and I knew were there was an empty pole it ought to fit.

I hauled that darn bird house for three more weeks and 8000 miles before getting it back to Florida. The bad part was that I was traveling in my pickup and afraid some one would steal the house. With that in mind, My future Martin home got to sleep with me each night in a motel room.

Not knowing, and with other constraints, I put the house up in late spring of 1986 and of course nothing happened.

I guess I had but little faith. I had talked to a lot of people and got lots of different opinions about Martin birds. I suppose, that like my father before me. I figured there were Martins out there some where and I had a house but would never have any Martins for whatever reason and therefore it was little of my concern.

Then a strange thing happened in June of 1987 and I kept a chronicle in the word processor of my computer. It is as follows:...........

---   The Martin Birds - 1987   ---

The first two Martins showed up around the 2nd 3rd or 4th of June 1987. they were in the top north room.

I had noticed the first bunch and then by the 9th of June I was sure we had Martins. I counted a total of six at one time. They just don't act like any bird I have seen before.

I verified my thinking from pictures in a bird book we had bought for the kids when they were little and sure enough these birds matched the pictures.

On Wednesday, June 10, 1987 I counted six again. We have the top three rooms on east side occupied plus the south top room and the south top room on the west side.

On Saturday, June 13, 1987 the wife and I had great fun watching our Martins we took pictures. It was around 10 in the morning. we had only been able to count 7 at any one time. There were only 2 sitting on top of the house. They began chirping like the devil and with in seconds seven more Martins showed up. 2 all black and 7 black with gray chest.

On Wednesday, June 17, 1987 birds having a ball loud talking and lots of activities around the house. 2 black at one time. Rest gray chested only counted 7 at one time. But, appears more rooms are occupied now. hard to tell how many we got all together. But, they sure are enjoying themselves.

On Wednesday June 24, 1987. I noticed no birds. I did not think much about it. I was on my way to see the doctor and happened to pass through the back yard.

On Thursday June 25, 1987 I checked and all the birds were gone for sure. To no avail they never returned.

I was so upset, I called the Nature Society News to get some answers on what happened. They advised that I probable had some Martins which had already had their young and had left their former home for some reason or the other.

You see, this business was getting serious now. I had been to the library for books and other places for information so, I had found out about the Nature Society News who published a monthly newspaper on Martin Birds.

I had learned the Martin Birds live in Africa during the winter months and come to America in the spring of each year to raise their babies.

Arrival time in the states varies depending on location and severity of the current winter in each state. In Florida the expected arrival time each year is late January to early March.

Basically, they spend the first month in the states finding living quarters and mating up, the next month building a nest, the next month sitting on the nest and the next month feeding the babies and getting them to fledge (fly), by this time it is late June to early July and the birds start returning to Africa.

Once established, It is their habit to return to the same bird house each year.

Interestingly, in America and Lower Canada they live in man made houses and have their babies. In Africa they only live in the trees and have no babies.

Thus ended the 1987 Season for Martin Birds and although disappointing in some aspects we learned a lot and looked forward to the arrival of the 1988 Season.

For 1988 Season and the Rest of The Story  -  "Read ON"

It should be remembered that up until 1987 GranPa didn't know anything about Martin Birds and in 1988 GranPa was in the midst of developing the computer software known as "PrintChief" which was in all the Radio Shack stores. I was doing the software development on my computer in the office at the house and thus was able to keep a log of the events that occurred in 1988 relative to the Martin Birds.

The following is the Event Log I kept in 1988

January 31, ...... I took the birdhouse down for cleaning and discovered the roof was bad. I replaced the roof and repainted the house completely inside and out except for the room dividers.

February 2, ...... I got the birdhouse back up at high noon. I put out some egg shells and also some oyster and seashells. We started a daily watch. ( Come on Martins )

February 24, ...... I saw the first scout at high noon. A solid black one. Well, I had put the house up at high noon. So, should have first Martin at high noon. Hung out for rent sign "Free". I watched for a while and the Martin left.

The Wife and I kept watch every day. "No Birds"

February 27, ...... 10:00 am. .. ( Becky's 25th Birthday ) we had 3 scouts really looking the house over. I observed one that went into at least 5 of the 12-room house. They played around the house for at least an hour, in and out of the rooms. They looked real healthy, fat, with good shiny solid black coat of feathers.

What a thrill to see them show so much interest in the house and what sadness to go back out at 1:30 pm and not find them still there.

"O" where, "O" where did my Martins go.

February 28, ...... 7:30 am. .. "O-Boy" they are back. Looks like the same three as yesterday. All black and sassy. But who can tell? They are having a ball. I watched one fold his wings against his body from way off and dive in towards the house for a landing. They appear to still be checking the house out. I can not be sure as they leave and then return but appears we may have four today. But i am sure we have three. The wife and i kept a watch back and forth. They were still there at 11:45 am. But, at 12:15 they were gone. I could see one off in the sky flying. We observed off and on for remainder of evening. Did not see any more for the rest of day. I checked at 4:45 pm no birds. Checked at 6:45 pm just before dark no birds.

Monday February 29, 6:15 am. ...... The wife checked, said there were some sitting on wires beside the house but she did not take time to count them. She said they were down the wires a ways and there were about 8 or 9 birds, she thinks they were black birds and not the Martins. She was in hurry as usual to get to work.

9:15 am. ...... I did a quick check. "Bingo" the wives have arrived. We have a gray chested one in the top, southwest room. There is a black one in the top west middle room. There is one on the wires and one that just flew off. That is four total.

10:00 am. ...... Not a sign of a bird. I thought they were gone. But, within 30 seconds, here came 4, all at the same time, 3 black and 1 gray chested. The gray chose the top, southeast room this time. During the next 30 minutes I observed one of the males catch a bug off in the distance, it must have been a big bug as I just got a glimpse of the bug when the Martin made a wild flight maneuver. I observed one of the males come off the top of the house and attack one of the other males who were sitting on top of one of the wires. (We have five power lines that run with in two feet of the birdhouse. Two wires run right beside the house and three up above the birdhouse). For twenty minutes two of the males played and flew around. While the other male stayed pretty close to the female who stayed either on the porch or half in and half out of the room. There had been another small and minor confrontation on the porch between two of the males. Appears there is a conflict of interest. Ha. It also appears one of the males likes the top south attic room as each time he comes back he will go to that room. After 20 minutes two of the males left and did not return. The other male went into the room with the female. They did some chirping and then all was quite for 10 minutes. No other birds were around. After 10 minutes, the male emerged and flew off with the female right behind him. They flew way off in the distance towards the east until I lost sight of them. Once again the house and yard were totally deserted. (I think this male shall be named "Romeo").

11:30 to 11:50 am. ...... No sign of any birds anywhere.

1:30 pm. ...... Had kept watch since 11:50. No sign of any birds.

5:30 pm. ...... Had returned from town. "Whoopee", we got birds back. Had to install the wife's microwave oven after repairs, before she would let me go out and play with the birds.

6:00 pm. ...... Went out to give good check. It was getting dark. I could see that we had 0ne male in the top, southwest room and only with field glasses could I detect that we had a bird in the top southeast room. I had gone into the neighbors yard through the fence gate so as to be able to observe the east side of the house. The wind blew the fence gate shut with a big bang, which scared the birds as they all flew out of the house. This was when I discovered that a female was occupying the top southeast room with the male. (This is the same room the pair had been together in at noon). So we had two males and one female who had evidently bedded down for the night. The birds flew off in the distances and did not to return. I watched until 6:15 pm.

6:45 pm. ...... I had kept check every few minutes, at this time I can see the male has returned to the top southwest room. I have to assume the pair returned to the other side but it is two dark to tell. Also can we assume that since we now have two males and one female that the confrontations I observed at noon means that one of the males is no longer welcome and has left?

"These Martins are making a wreck out of me"
( I think maybe I should leave them alone for a while )

Tuesday March 1, 10:30 am. ...... Well, we have 3 males again and look like we have another female. But, I am not sure about the extra female.

11:30 am. ...... No Martins in sight.

12:30 pm. ...... No Martins in sight. .... Strange, it seems the birds leave every day around noontime or just before.

5:00 pm. ...... I returned from city hall. No Martins in sight.

5:10 pm. ...... Well, we have 2 males flying about and one female sitting in her room. (the top southeast one). No sign of nest building yet. I wonder were them rascals go during the day. I put out a bunch more egg shells on top of the flat roof over the patio. Also some on top of the green house.

Wednesday March 2, 9:30 am. ...... I thought so yesterday but, today it is for sure. We have another female. It appears she is moving in with the guy who liked the top south attic room. I watched a full 30 minutes until 10:00 am. During this time they never left the area of the house. They stayed right around and just flew over to the wires or just in the area of the house itself. The male with the female in the top southeast room attacked the male who likes the top southwest room. (humnn), that's the single guy yet because he made a beeline for his room. They seem to like the power lines running along side of their house because they sure do a lot of hopping back and forth between the two. I observed an opposite of what one would think, for a long time the female stayed on the porch of the south attic room and the male stayed inside the room. I'd have thought the male would have stood guard. I also noticed that once when the male was out of the south attic room and the female was sitting in the attic room looking out, the male landed on the porch and the female reached and pecked him on the head and run him off. (that's what I'd call hen pecked).

11:00 am. ...... All the Martins have left the house again. Two old Florida black birds were sitting on the power lines next to the house. I can see 3 Martins flying in the distances but they do not approach the house. They did fly over it, at about 200 feet in the air.

11:25 am. ...... "OK" two males are back.

11:55 am. ...... There was not a bird in sight. I thought they were gone. But, I could hear them chirping inside I thought. Sure enough, I went in to the neighbors yard and came back. When I shut the gate two male Martins flew out. However, they came right back to the house and went inside. Maybe, they don't leave in the afternoon. Maybe, they are part Mexican and are inside the house taking a siesta.

12:40 am. ...... Boy my office should not be at the house today I am not getting any work done. I heard lots of loud talking from the birds but, when I observed from the patio I could only see one Martin. Went out front to mail a letter. In front of the house there were four Martins all flying together and then they headed for their house. I went into the back yard and discovered what all the commotion was about. We have had another pair arrive and boy is the female pretty (no wonder the guys were excited) she has gray that goes all the way to her beak and then swings half way up around her neck like a collie dogs collar. The gray also goes to the very tip of her tail feathers and gets whiter has it does so. Most impressive is the fact that on the top of her head between the eyes is a gray marking something like a horse would have. Think I shall name her "Princess". Appears the new pair may take the north attic room. The old single guy is still alone on the southwest side. While I observed for about 20 minutes a bee looking bug went into the south attic room and a Martin went in behind him. No bug ever came out. Also saw a male return with a large bug in his mouth and then eat it while sitting on his porch. I also saw I guess the single guy try to land on the porch of the north attic room and the female stuck her head out with her mouth wide open in a rage of angry. He left.

So, we now have 3 pairs and the old single guy. He does look like a young bird. Maybe that has something to do with it. Of course I don't know young looking from old looking yet.

1:05 am. ...... Things are real quite now. You would think the Martins were gone but I can see 2 heads one in the north attic room and one in the top Middle West room. I have been sort of thinking that maybe we have more than the seven I am sure about because I had noticed a male several time go in and out of all the top rooms on the west side. But I have been contributing that to the single guy. Wonder if you will ever be able to tell one from the other. I think I will on the pretty female. She is sure different. I have observed today were they got the word purple. They have just looked all black to me. But with the sun shining on them you can see a distinct color change on the back of the head. To me they still look black but I would describe them as having "flat black" wings and "gloss black" on the back of their necks.

But are they fun to watch the way they hover to come in for a landing. I like the way they sort of hang on the side of their perch. I saw one crazy thing nearly upside down hanging off of his porch. I have also noticed that they do a lot of cleaning of them selves. They raise their wings up and seem to do a body stretch.

"O" Where "O" where Mr. Martin have you been all my life ?

4:30 pm. ...... Got back from Title Company. You would have thought none of the Martins were around, as, there were none to be seen anywhere. I got the field glasses and low and behold you can see 2 just barely sticking their heads out of the north attic room and the top northwest room. We watched until 6:00 pm. Did not see any other Martins but, we also tried to leave them alone. They sure must go to bed early.

Thursday March 3, 10:30 am. ...... I was up all night working on taxes. Well, nothing was done yesterday on account of the Martins. Wife ready to kick me. The Martins must have had a rough night too. They are not doing any thing. There are only 3 males out. They are just fooling around flying and then coming back to the house. I trust the rest are still here somewhere.

3:30 pm. ...... I am starting to get a little concerned. I have checked a few times today and I am not observing much going on. Just now absolutely nothing. Not a Martin in sight and I cannot detect any in their house. It has been since yesterday at noon that I have seen any real activities with all of them out.

5:00 pm. ...... The Wife got home from work and as we sit outside I told her that our birds were gone for sure, I had been checking with the field glasses and there were absolutely no Martins around. I told her I was afraid we had gave them too much attention. We checked on the plants in the greenhouse. (My nose started to bleed. It has not done that in a long time). We sit down and the wife begin to moan the blues because our Martins were gone. Nobody said life was easy.

5:30 pm. ...... Well I'll be dogged, here come 3 male Martins and one female. "Boy "O" Boy", the female is "Princess". Are we happy, how about that. Princess is lost, she went around to the side. Her boy friend had gone into their north attic room. When she went around to were Romeo lives Charlie (I'll call him that after Billy walker's song about Charlie's shoes) got on the wires were he could watch her. I got a phone call. The wife says she counted a total of 5 Martins before coming in. Also said Princess came back around to the north attic room were Charlie is and went inside.

6:30 pm. ...... I finally got off the phone. Well praise the lord. We can now sleep good tonight knowing the Martins are back and in their house. I still wonder about theses Martins where were they all day.

Friday March 4, 8:45 am. ...... "Man "O" Man" we got our Martins. But, I am leaving them alone. I'm thinking that until they really get settled in and feel at home it might be best. I would hate to think I frightened them off by giving them too much attention. I did take a peek from inside the patio and I can see 3 males and 1 female. The one single guy who lives alone on the top west side can't seem to make up his mind which of the 3 top west side rooms he likes. He uses all three rooms. Think we shall call him "Dopey"

1:00 pm. ...... Took another peek. They are still active. There are only 2 out. But, I can hear lots of talking and I have been hearing them all morning. I wonder why they are staying so active today. Is it because I have not been out bothering them?

Saturday March 5, ...... We did not do much bird watching today. We had a slight rain off and on all day. The Martins were out this morning. I observed 3 males and 1 female sitting on the wires and the house at 11:00 am this morning. At 1:00 pm it was still raining but we had 3 males sitting outside in the drizzling rain. I was as dumb as they were, I set out 8 new rose bushes while it was raining. The wife liked that. Also potted 10 new cuttings from the old rose bushes and put in the greenhouse. I also trimmed all 20 of the old bushes. Let's see we got 20 old, 8 new, and I now have 20 potted in the greenhouse. So we got 48 rose bushes if the new ones live.

8:00 pm. ...... The wife and I just got home from buying groceries. It is still raining.

Sunday March 6, 7:00 am. ...... It is a typical old winter day. Cool, damp, drizzle and heavy overcast. But, our Martins are out fooling around. The wife observed a squirrel trying to go down the fence beneath the birdhouse. She said the Martin's dive-bombed him and he left. Otherwise they are mostly staying in the house. Especially the females. Poor old Dopey he still don't know which of the 3 top west rooms he likes he has used all 3 again today. We kept a check all day and you would only see one sitting outside. They are just not doing much. I don't blame them, I'm not either. I had wanted to plant the vegetable garden but it is a demoralizing day. Today I also had an interesting observation, an eagle flew over with a black bird in his claw. I trust it was not a Martin as it had long tail feathers. But was hard to tell for sure.

Monday March 7, 11:00 am. ...... Well, I got up late this morning, spent the night playing with our genealogy records on the computer. But lots of commotion going on with the Martins. I guess after two days of rain they are enjoying the sun today. They are all out, even Princess is on her porch. Also saw two other females. Man, we had a gang of 5 all at one time fluttering around the house and lots of loud talking. I am thinking Dopey has a girl friend today or Princess is fooling around. A female that looks like her was over on Dopey's side of the house. However I could not see if she had the gray patch on her forehead that Princess has. I observed until 12:00 and took some pictures. I can not be sure just how many Martins we have the way they come and go. But it seems to me there is more around than there has been. We are suppose to have 3 pairs and Dopey that I know of.

I had to attend the Titusville home builders meeting. The wife says she thinks we have more birds. She took a turn at watching this evening. She said 2 males attacked Princess and that Princess spent a lot of time on Dopey's side of the house. Hummnnn! Poor old Charlie. The wife also says we got a funny looking bird in the north attic room which is real fat. She did not know were it was a Martin or not.

Monday continued:

I went to the woods today and I got the Martins some good nest building materials. Some string from an old mop head, strings from an old rug, some fibers from an old couch, some pine needles, and lots of twigs from a grape vine or it was a similar vine. It will be interesting next year when I clean the house to see if they used what I put out. I put the stuff out in the yard, and on top of the patio and greenhouse.

Tuesday March 8, 9:30 am. ...... I spent some time watching this morning. Took several pictures. 2 males attacked Princess again when she was around on the west side of the house. Over all, they did nothing unusual.

6:00 pm. ...... The wife and I set awhile. The fat bird was back and in the south attic room. He flew out and got on a wire besides the house. From the book we have it appears to be a starling. The wings are like a Martins. He has a long yellow bill and long legs. His throat feathers flutter up and he makes a funny motion with his throat. He is black with white spots on the under sides. Wings are solid black. Appears to have a touch of green on back of his shoulders. He flew off.

Wednesday March 9, 10:30 am. ...... Well, we have been wrong it may be that Princess has not been fooling around. This morning I confirmed that there is another female which looks a lot like Princess that is on Dopey's side of the house in the top northwest room. She has a gray forehead like Princess has. So that means we should have an even four pair. Dopey is still using all 3 top rooms on the west side. He was in the south room for a while then went up to the north room to visit with the female, then they both went into the middle room. Romeo and Juliet stay pretty much to themselves on the east side of the house and other then flying in and out they don't seem to wander about on this side of the house much. It is hard to tell since we cannot see on that side very easy. I took some more pictures. I think I got some of Princess forehead. She spent a lot of time on her porch at the north attic room. They are having their usual good time. Lots of activities and loud talking. No sign of nest building. It appears to me that with the exception of Romeo and Juliet, they are just not totally sure whose mate is whose.

2:30 pm. ...... The Martins are quite. However, I saw 3 cardinals all at one time in the yard together. They were looking the bird feeder over which we kept full of seed until the Martins. We have quit filling it. The feeder attracts so many black birds and squirrels, I was fearful it would distract the Martins and keep them from liking our place.

Thursday March 10, ...... No time for Martins today had lots to do. I did take one peek in the morning. We had 2 males and a female outside on the house and wires. I worked on taxes until 2:00 pm and then had to go to Orlando to see Mike Gutman. We did our business and I got home at 12:30 midnight.

Friday March 11, 10:30 am. ...... Granny (that's my mother) came over and we went out to watch the Martins. They were not too active. We had 3 or 4 out and going back and forth but not much else. Mother and I spent the afternoon in town getting the little wife some paint to paint the hall with.

Saturday March 12, 7:00 am. ...... The wife spent an hour watching the Martins. They were doing their usual flying around. I spent the day at Quail Haven helping Bob Martin clear his lot 54. I also had the guy do some mowing on lot 42. The wife "Bless her Heart" spent the day painting our hall and entrance way. I got home after dark too late to see any Martins and thank goodness to late to paint.

Sunday March 13, 8:00 am. ...... Well the Martins and me had a good full day. We were in the back yard until 1:00 pm setting out some flowers and fooling around with the other plants.

The birds were having boo-coos of fun today. We were able to take some pictures of them all paired up setting on the wires and house. (case I forget "Dopey" and "Dippy" were on the top wire "Romeo" and "Juliet" were on bottom wire and "Princess" and "Charlie" were on the house at their room).

Dopey and Dippy (we just named her) are nuts they still use all three rooms on the top west side and even once went into a room on the bottom west side. They also had an argument today. They were sitting on the west side and really went at it, no contact, just screaming at each other with their mouth wide open in angry. It was funny.

We are not sure about the numbers of birds we have. We thought we had birds in the south attic room making a total of 4 pair or 8 Martins.

Today the Martins were really responding together in pairs and as a group. Meaning they would fly off together as a group all 6 of them and then come back as a group of 6 or they would fly off as a pair and then come back as a pair. The whole group of 6 would set outside on the house and wires together. We only saw 6 at any one time.

However, one time there was a lot of talking and a pair went in and came out of the south attic room. But it was at one of those times when only 4 to 6 Martins were around so bottom line is we can only be sure we have 3 males and 3 females. While we think we have 4 and 4.

We did observe today 4 or 5 as a group all of them chasing either an eagle or a hawk (it was a large bird with a white underneath) which had wondered into their territory. After the chase they all came back to the house as a group.

Saturday March 26, ...... This is first chance to report in a week, as we have not had too much time to devote to our Martins since last Sunday. We have kept an every day check on them but only a glance once or twice each day to see if they were still with us.

Ok, it is 8:00 am. ...... Not a whole lot going on. Romeo and Juliet are out but they stay pretty much to themselves on the east side. I saw Charlie. Did not see Princess. Dippy came out of the top northwest room and moseyed down the porch to the middle room. Dopey came out of the middle room and moseyed down the porch to the top southeast room. About 5 minutes later Dippy came out and moseyed down the porch and went into the room were Dopey was. Dopey came out and went back into the middle room. About 5 minutes later Dippy came out and went into the room with Dopey. Dopey came out and flew off. Dopey must have been tired of Dippy henpecking him. Ha. Dippy came right out and flew off after him. (Dopey I must tell you, after 33 years of being married that women just don't give up).

I took some more pictures

Sunday March 27, 8:30 am. ...... The little wife came running in the house and woke me up to tell me our birds were building nests. (see what I mean Dopey). Boy was she ever right Romeo and Juliet were making one trip after another and doing it together. Both of them were hauling pine needles every trip except I would notice at times Romeo would come back without anything. But then he would set on the wire until Juliet got trough inside and then go with her on each trip for her to get more pine needles and then set on the wire again until she flew off for more pine needles. Once I did see Romeo go around on the west side and steal a pine needle, which Dopey and Dippy had left hanging out. We have not been able to observe Romeo and Juliet much since they are on the east side and cannot be seen without us going through the fence to the neighbors yard. However they seem to be a very quite couple and are always consistent in what they do. They are a steady couple always together. I had always seen them together in the top southeast room when I would go over to the neighbors yard to see what they were doing. Low and behold when I checked today they are building their nest in the top middle room on the east side. On one of Juliet's trips she could not get the pine needle through the door she tried to put it into all three rooms on the top. She finally was able to get it to break through into the middle room.

Dopey and Dippy remain true to form. They have no rhyme or reason as to the way they are going about building their nest or doing anything. But they are hard at work building a nest in the top middle room on the west side. Remember they have stayed mostly in the top northwest room and the top southwest room and they are usually by themselves but you never know which will be in which room the north or the south. And low and behold they are building their nest in the middle room. They too are using pine needles. I did see Dippy on two occasions bring back a maple leaf.

Charlie is not doing any thing. Princess is not around. I did not see her yesterday so we are concerned. Charlie is just staying in his top north attic room or out on the wires. If he flies off he comes right back.

We only had five birds all day long. However about 4:00 pm another pair showed up and went into the south attic room. Humnn? The female sure does look a lot like Princess.

Interestingly, it has been one month to the day since the three scouts arrived that the birds have begun to build their nest.

Monday March 28, 8:00 am. ...... Well bless my soul Princess is back and in the north attic room with Charlie. I guess Princess was out on the town for the weekend. Romeo and Juliet are again busy building their nest. I noticed that as they make their together trips that they are both bringing back small short stubby sticks. I guess they don't like all the stuff I have put out for them to use but then it is here in our yard were we are. Dopey and Dippy appear to be taking the day off as they are not doing anything. I did see Princess go around on Dopey's side of the house and Dippy attacked her "bam" and they went to near the ground in a fight. Princess returned to her room with Charlie.

I am proud of myself in my judgment of character. I do think the birds are living up to the names I have gave them. Romeo and Juliet were the first to pair up and are consistent in remaining quietly together doing their own thing. Dopey and Dippy remain clowns, are never consistent, and totally nuts. Princess. Well, she just seems to like to fool around and look were that leaves poor old Charlie.

Tuesday March 29, 6:30 am. ...... I got a surprise this morning. We have 4 male and 4 females all setting out on the wires together at the same time. I wonder what this means. We have at times thought we had a pair in the south attic room. But never consistently and certainly not enough to talk about.

Had to take care of uncle Sam today so he can pay his bills. Therefore after a short looksee no more bird watching was allowed.

Wednesday March 30, 8:30 am. ...... Took a quick look this morning. Not much going on. But I gots lots to do.

5:30 pm. ...... When I got home today I sure could tell that Dopey and Dippy have been busy busy. They have dropped pine needles all over the ground on their side of the house building their nest. They also have pine needles sticking out all over the place on their side of the house. See what I mean. On Romeo and Juliet's side they have dropped half the amount of needles and all their straw is tucked inside the house. Of course Dopey and Dippy took Monday off so they may not be as far along as Romeo and Juliet.

I was not at home today. So, I do not know what Charlie and Princess have been doing.

Thursday March 31, ...... It is definite now. We have a pair of birds in the top south room. I named them "Later" and "Latest".

Thursday May 5, ...... Well have not had the time to write about the birds. Hard to believe a month has gone by. However we have kept a watch out ever evening and the following is a summation of events.

We had two females arrive around mid April. They are alone and I think young birds. They arrived separately and about a week apart.

One moved into the lower east rooms on the bottom. I named her Nosey because she likes to come to the corner of the porch and look around the corner of the house to see what is going on. She is strongly defined in her colors as her head and neck is all black.

The other one moved into the three bottom rooms on the west side. It took about a week for the other birds to accept her but they finally did. I named her Speck because she has an all black head like Nosey except under her chin is Speckled in black with some gray.

We noticed on this day that we must have babies. All the birds are hauling bugs like mad to the house and feeding their respective young.

Monday May 16,...... Yep, we can see two babies on the west side and three on the east side.

Sunday May 21, ...... What a day with the birds. We had three grand baby's over and they had us up early, at 7:30 Jordan came running in the house with a baby Martin. Jordan said it had came off the bird house and landed in the garden. I took the baby Martin and got up on the patio roof to place it on the chimney it was just sitting on my finger and it flew off and over the rest of house and across the street. It surprised me in that about four of the Martins that had been sitting on the wires took off after the baby. I went on up the roof to see where it went. All I could see were the four grown Martins circling the street real low. I went across the street and found the baby on the ground next to a tree. I took the baby back and put him on top of the bird feeder which is about eight feet high and down just below the bird house.

He took 3 trips off and we brought him back each time.

Speck was building a nest today.

The above was not completed and this was where my journal of The Martin Birds ended in 1988. Business and other pressing matters kept me from continuing.

All the Martins had left by the end of June and it can be assumed that Ray also got tired of writing every day.

Our Spring time of 1988 was filled with the delight of watching nature at work and the marvel of it all and then to see the mother and father of the baby Martins kick their young out of the house to face the world on their own was a lesson in life.

To think that a roughneck from the sticks of Lueders, Texas could enjoy such an event made it all the more amazing.

We had all the 1988 birds named and they were:......
Romeo and Juliet
Charlie and Princess
Later and Latest
Dopey and Dippy
Nosey and Speck

We had so much enjoyment, I ordered a 36 room professional Martin Bird House from the Nature Society News and had it up for the 1989 season.

A real fancy job that raises and lowers for cleaning and maintenance.

To see the Bird Houses and some of our Martins Click:..  HERE

The End

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