Home Visit KBS Bird Sanctuary Bird Sanctuary News The Results are in! Purple Martin Nesting at KBS
The Results are in! Purple Martin Nesting at KBS PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Duke   
Tuesday, 03 September 2013 17:46

Another summer here at Kellogg Bird Sanctuary is starting to wind down, as well as nesting season.   While we’re happy for all the baby birds we were able to welcome this year, perhaps the most exciting were the Purple Martins.

This is our second year using the Purple Martin houses and we are happy to report that we had two successful nests this year!   Our proud Mom and Pop Martins came in the late spring to start their new family.  Over the course of the next several weeks, we were lucky to watch the young hatch and grow.  While it’s bittersweet they have left, we still have work to do collecting and processing data, as well as getting the houses ready for storage and next year’s nesting.

Purple Martins are the largest members of the swallow family.   An interesting thing about Martins is their plumage differences.   Not only do males and females have different plumage patterns (the female is duller than the blue/black male), but the sub-adults  have different plumage as well.   If you keep a close eye on Purple Martin, you can figure out the sex and age of the bird.

Purple Martin House

Purple Martin checking out his new nesting spot.

Another unique aspect of Purple Martins is their dependence on humans.   Humans have been providing nesting sites to Purple Martins all the way back to Native American settlement.   Over time, the eastern subspecies has completely stopped nesting in natural cavities in favor of human provided homes.   Purple Martins, as well as other swallows, are important insect controlling species.   Martins will eat many different types of flying insects, including flies, moths, wasps and crickets.

Learn more about Purple Martin Identification:
National Geographic  Page on Purple Martins

More about Purple Martin Conservation and how to become a Martin Landlord:
Purple Martin Conservation Assocation