There was a bit of excite­ment here at Bum­ble­bee a cou­ple of nights ago. I thought we had finally attracted some pur­ple martins.

I was out­side with the lit­tle dogs and was watch­ing the blue­birds who have moved into the pur­ple mar­tin gourds. They have been there all sum­mer, hav­ing babies and using the long arms of the gourd sys­tem as a perch to look for juicy bugs. But some of the “blue­birds” were exhibit­ing some very un-bluebird like behav­ior. They perched and then flew off to grab bugs in mid-air and then returned to the perch to chow down.

Well, nat­u­rally I thought they were pur­ple mar­tins. I was so excited my hands were shak­ing as I changed my cam­era lens to the mon­ster long-lens. I snapped shots and sent them off to a cou­ple of friends, includ­ing Ruthie, announc­ing, “I have pur­ple martins!!!”

Well, don’t you love the inner­nets? Within three or four min­utes one friend had called and the other emailed to gen­tly inform me that I didn’t have pur­ple mar­tins at all.

I have Great Crested Flycatchers.

Well, nat­u­rally I was dis­ap­pointed. After hav­ing invested a wag­onload of money in the gourd sys­tem, charmed a handy­man into installing the pole in my Mary­land hard­pan clay and got­ten up for many, many morn­ings before dawn to play them the CD of pur­ple mar­tin dawn song on my boom box, I still didn’t have pur­ple martins.

But my friends assured me that a Great Crested Fly­catcher is indeed a very spe­cial and inter­est­ing bird. But then, I already knew the inter­est­ing part. He surely cap­tured my interest!

Now, I am watch­ing as the blue­birds and fly­catch­ers share their perch. They seem com­pan­ion­able enough and both are spe­cial birds that I’m happy to have in my yard. Even if they aren’t pur­ple martins.

There is always next year.


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  • Kim says:

    There is always next year! Good luck attract­ing Mar­tins, maybe you’ll get some. I’d love to have the Fly­catcher here, or even the blue­birds. When we moved to a more wooded spot, we lost the blue­birds but we gained Pileated Wood­peck­ers. I’m not sure that’s a fair trade, but it will have to do. Thanks for shar­ing your Flycatcher.

  • My in-laws had pur­ple mar­tins at the lake house. They loved them, but I’ve got to be hon­est, the silly things were the nois­i­est birds I’d ever heard. I just don’t have the ear for them I guess.

    I love my blue­birds and the scis­sor tail fly­catch­ers, Oklahoma’s state bird.~~Dee

  • Anna says:

    I am grow­ing gourds right now and hope to get my houses up next year. I can’t believe all the work you went to and then don’t have them. Boo hiss. See­ing what Dee said, I’ll sure make sure they are away from the house a good bit.

  • Kylee says:

    Robin, I’d be thrilled with the fly­catcher! I hope you get some Mar­tins some­time, though.

  • Seri­ously, you played a CD on your boom box out­side in the early morn­ing to attract pur­ple mar­tins? What we will do to attract the right kinds of birds to our gar­dens, or at least what we think are the right kinds of birds.

  • Gail says:

    Well if I had your itch­ing bit­ing bug prob­lem (I do) I would do what it takes to get mos­quito eat­ing birds in my yard! It’s a fly­catcher and cute, but more impor­tantly, does he eat mosquitoes?

  • Rhonda says:

    I’ve tagged you on my blog…can you give us 6 things about yourself?

  • Margaret says:

    Have enjoyed 62 kinds of birds here in the “yard” but never pur­ple mar­tins. Tan­agers, every man­ner of war­bler, indigo buntings, even irrup­tive win­ter finches such as Pine Gros­beak. But no mar­tins. Not sure about your nice fly­catcher, either…have had a cou­ple of flycatcher/peewee species con­sis­tently, but the very long tail seems like one I don’t have.

  • Kenny Point says:

    Noth­ing against the fly­catcher but that’s a dis­ap­point­ment; pur­ple mar­tins are so cool and great to have around, they remind me of dol­phins in many ways. A friend in Upper Marl­boro, MD used to have a colony that spent every sum­mer there and raised their babies right in his sub­ur­ban back yard. For some rea­son they didn’t return a cou­ple sum­mers ago, I’ll have to find out if they ever did come back again. Good luck entic­ing a group of Mar­tins to set­tle in.

  • Barbee' says:

    I think fly­catch­ers are fun to watch. And, they seem to have a curios­ity and bold­ness. One looked in my win­dow right at me one time. He had large, round, pretty, and bright eyes. Cute!

  • Angie says:

    I just stum­bled upon your blog and have been enjoy­ing read­ing it very much! I too live in Mary­land in the coun­try and can relate to so much of what you write about!

  • Roxanne says:

    From every­thing I’ve seen, the pic­ture of the bird posted here is not a Great Crested Fly­catcher. Though it looks sim­i­lar. Crest­eds have yel­low bel­lies and dif­fer­ent shaped bills0 they can be dis­tin­guished by their calls. Google it for pics and for sounds to com­pare your birds to Great Crest­eds.

    I think you have an Olive Sided Fly­catcher
    see here all the fly­catch­ers,27

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