Bird House Filled to Capacity
by Mike Aurelia
In early April 2013 twelve Friends
of Greenwich Point Purple Martin
nesting gourds were erected for the
third season near the Gate House
by Mike Aurelia and Joe Cassone,
the Town’s Conservation Assistant.
Within a few days returning Purple
Martins were reported at the e-Bird
“Greenwich Point Park” Hot Spot.
Pairs of Purple Martins started
investigating individual gourds
within a few weeks.
Gourd Inspection and Inventory
On June 20th the first gourd inspection
occurred and an inventory taken. Ten of the
twelve gourds had residents and forty-eight (48) eggs
were present. Eggs per gourd ranged from a low of three to a maximum of six. Monitoring continued through the summer. It was estimated that the first egg was laid on or about June 4th and the first chick hatched on or about June 24th. A total of 57 eggs were laid and 50 chicks hatched by July 15th. The staff of the Bruce Museum helped with mite control and the weekly inspections. They also integrated the weekly inspections into their educational programming by the end of the season.
On July 9th the Purple Martin Program Manager of the CT DEEP – Geoff Krukar arrived to band individual chicks with federal bands and the Greenwich Point blue and yellow bands. Thirty-seven of the larger chicks received at least the federal band. Three chicks were too small to receive the Greenwich Point bands. Two of the late nests still had eggs. Some of the adult birds had not only the federal bands, but also CT location bands. At least two Purple Martin adults were from Westport (red bands) and one female banded last year was sporting a Greenwich Point band. Our Greenwich Point young female laid three eggs and successfully fledged three young in her first year.
More Gourds Next Year
Because all of the gourds were occupied for the first time this year, the Friends of Greenwich Point will be installing two more 12 gourd units next year.