View Full Version : My shop is for the birds

Ken Garlock
04-15-2006, 6:59 PM
Last Sunday I took out the two cyclone output filter cartridges and hauled them outside where I could blast them with an air hose. I had run the hose out from the shop and had to leave the door about half open to give me enough hose length to work with. I dragged out the Trend positive pressure respirator and proceeded to clean the Wynn filter cartridges.

After completing the cleaning I took the filter back inside and back to there housing in order to reinstall them. I got to the back of the shop and heard a noise that sounded like someone banging against the window. My windows are 2' X 6' each and there are 3 along the North and South walls at 7' off the floor. Well what do you know, a Purple Martin had gotten in shop while the door was open and was very sure that he/she could get out by flying through the window. I slowly moved along the shop wall toward the Martin which fluttered itself down the last window and into the corner of the sill. From there I was able to pick him up and take him up to the Veranda for LOML to see. After about 15 seconds of looking him over, I just opened my hand and he was off and way.

Never in a hundred years would I have thought that I would actually catch and hold a Purple Martin.:cool:

Peter Stahl
04-15-2006, 7:41 PM
That's awsome Ken. Didn't you get any pictures? So is a bird in the hand worth... sorry I couldn't resist.

Jim Becker
04-15-2006, 8:01 PM
While a rare thing to be able to handle a wild bird, it certainly is a wonderful experience to see it up close, especially something like a Martin. (Chickadees and some other small birds can be taught to eat right out of your hand) I've only been able to hold a chickadee and a house finch here so far...other than our two parrots "indoors"...and both were in need of assistance at the time. I came close with a junko that got into my shop a couple years ago, but managed to help it out the door without handling it.

Jim O'Dell
04-15-2006, 8:31 PM
Several years ago at a previous job (we had a 16 bay shop with 12 or 16 foot tall roll up doors-had been an auto dealership at one time). The shop had about 8 skylights that had chicken wire across them. It held up insulation on the rest of the roof. Just like Ken, I heard something fluttering. I investigated and found a hummingbird between the skylight and the wire mesh. Luckily we had a 16 foot folding ladder. I went up, was able to grab the little guy, came down the ladder part way and let him (her?) go....BIG MISTAKE!! Flew right back up to it's little prison. Had to repeat above process, but carried it outside to let it go. It acted like it was relieved, but not enough so to come back and wave thanks to me :D Jim.

Lee Schierer
04-18-2006, 2:08 PM
Awsome Ken. I've never had that happen in my shop.

In the local paper last week they had a story from the local Borg store (Not sure if it was the blue one or orange one). You know how when you visit they always have sparrows inside flying around. Apparently at one of our local stores they had quite a few sparrows and had hired a guy to trap them with no success. One day the employees started finding parts of sparrows on the floor. One of the employess noted that a Kestrel (sometimes called a sparrow hawk) had moved into the store and was feeding on the sparrows. After about a week, it had pretty well cleaned out the population and left by way of an open door.

Mark Rios
04-18-2006, 2:36 PM
Lee reminded me of a problem at a local climbing gym about ten years back.

The gym was newly opened and still had some things to finish up. We installed a large exhaust fan in the 45' ceiling (it gets quite warm with all the climbers sweaty bodies). The next day we fired up the fan as soon as we got into the building. When the first climbers of the day got to the top of the 40' walls, they startled the pigeons that had come in through the fan overnight. Where did they go?..........right out the fan. Pigeon pieces rained down on the climbers. We closed the gym for the day to clean up and install a screen over the fan opening. It wasn't a good day.

Keel McDonald
04-18-2006, 3:47 PM
Reminds me of a few years back. LOML and I had been hearing a fluttering noise in the house, but never could nail down what it was or where it was coming from. We eventually discovered it was coming from our pot-belly stove. I opened the door and discovered a very weak and dazed bird, (finch?, wren?, I'm no bird expert!). I reached in and pulled the little guy out. As soon as I got him out, he escaped my grasp and went flying into the dining room windows trying to get to daylight. After he flew into them several times, he finally was dazed enough that I caught him again. I yelled for LOML to look at him before letting him go, OUTSIDE. We walked out on the front porch and I opened my hands to let him fly off. Nothing happened. He just sat there. I walked down to the grass and sat him in the grass, and still nothing happened. After a minute or two, he finally recovered enough to fly off to a stump about 100 feet away. No sooner than he landed, but a hawk swooped down, grabbed him in his talons, and began having the aforementioned bird for lunch.

I guess that just goes to show you some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Vaughn McMillan
04-18-2006, 7:37 PM
...I guess that just goes to show you some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.
And the hawk is thinking "Man, this place has great room service."

- Vaughn

Martin Shupe
04-18-2006, 9:25 PM

I bought an expensive purple martin house several years back.

All I get are sparrows, which I would shoot if I wouldn't violate the neighborhood rules and get fined.

I'd be happy if you would shoo some of those purple martins towards my house.

Ken Garlock
04-18-2006, 10:17 PM

I bought an expensive purple martin house several years back.

All I get are sparrows, which I would shoot if I wouldn't violate the neighborhood rules and get fined.

I'd be happy if you would shoo some of those purple martins towards my house.

Hi Martin. Martins are kind of particular about their digs. They like two or more stores in their apartments. They also like the house to be on a pole and up in the air about 15 or more feet. It is also important to have the house/pole 20 to 30 feet from any other structure. It seems that the first year you have the house up, they may stay or they may not. I suspect there is some smell in the house that they don't like, and it takes about a year for the house to age. Let the sparrows nest in the house, sparrows and Martins coexist in our houses. Just keep the grackles and starlings out of the houses. When we lived in Plano, we had a house up as did a neighbor, and neither of us had any Martins.

Isn't it nice to live in development run by a bunch of 'lawn Nazis.':rolleyes:

Bruce Shiverdecker
04-18-2006, 10:54 PM
Definitely COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL birds. The last several years, I worked at a golf course, to get Free golf. As I drove around the course in my Marshal's cart, I kicked up insects. The Purple Martins were like Dolphins ..................Zooming in and out in front of the cart, coming within 2 feet, but that was not half a cool as what you experienced.


Ken Garlock
04-19-2006, 11:13 AM
Bruce, I had the same happen to me a couple years ago. I was mowing a side yard about 7 PM, and the little bugs were all over. The Martins didn't care about the loud noise of the mower, they just wanted the bugs. They were swooping and diving all over the area. :cool: