Greenwich Point Purple Martins
The return of the Purple Martins this spring to Greenwich Point was a welcome sight. This year 36 gourds were installed. By the end of May multiple gourds had the classic straw-lined nest with green leaves, and a few nests even had an egg laid. By early June, we counted over 100 eggs across 22 active gourds. A week later, 23 chicks were born, and 86 eggs across 23 gourds.
Midway through June, a pair of Great Horned Owls preyed upon the colony and we lost nearly half of the juveniles. We installed ‘owl guards’, metal prongs that hang in front of the opening to the gourd to prevent owls from being able to reach and grab inside, on the gourds that still had nests. Fortunately, the guards worked, and we were able to save the remaining juveniles.
A serendipitous meeting with a local photographer while monitoring the colony helped identify three banded Purple Martins. CT DEEP bands Purple Martins with two ankle bands: a colored band and a metal U.S. Geological Survey band. The colored band signifies the natal location where the bird was banded. Greenwich’s colors are yellow and blue. The metal band has a nine-digit code engraved on it to identify the individual. When juveniles are banded, they are weighed and aged.
For more information about the Purple Martin Nesting project at Greenwich Point, click on these links.
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