Purple Martin House – 2017
On June 21, Chuck Henrikson discovered 5 beautiful Purple Martin eggs in Condo #5. There was a well formed nest in Condo #4, with leaves but no eggs yet. That is wonderful news, and puts the Preserve on the map for nesting Purple Martins. Janis Cooper, who monitored the house on June 16, did not find any eggs yet on that day. This means that the martin female started laying her eggs on June 17. Martins lay one egg each morning for several consecutive days. We will soon be able to calculate the tentative hatching and fledging days for these eggs, - hoping all goes well. Also see the Blog entry for June 23.
Also on June 23, Mark Nofsinger, a regular visitor to the Preserve, photographed the Purple Martin pair in condo #5. You can view his photographs at iNaturalist. This application of iNaturalist makes it possible for users to upload any nature photograph in the Preserve, including the GPS position. The observation will be verified by other users.
The Purple Martins have returned to the Preserve!!
On Friday June 9, Janis Cooper, one of the 6 Purple Martin monitors of the Friends, brought her new camera to the Preserve to try it out.
Little did she expect to shoot the first photographs of Purple Martins at the house that morning. After figuring out how to upload the photos, she realized these could be the birds we had been waiting for and she returned on Tuesday, June 13, to take more photos. The martins were perching at times in the fruit trees near the martin house. They also enjoyed the perching rods that Seth McGee had installed at each condo.
In a fast and furious exchange of emails, monitors quickly agreed that these were indeed martins, moving into apartments 4 and 5 of the house. Faculty advisor Anna Pidgeon shared in the excitement from the Denver airport.
Status of the Purple Martin Project on June 11, 2017
Thank you for contacting me about the Purple Martin house at the Biocore Prairie by the Friends of the Preserve. As you surely noticed, there are no Purple martins inhabiting the house as yet. We have been told that that it may take two years to attract them. We obviously missed out on the subadults returning north.
Since May 11, the time of first sightings of sub-adult martins in southern Wisconsin, 4-5 compartments of the Martin house, facing south and east, have been open; however, no Purple martin activity has been observed near the house. Several martins were seen near the tip of Picnic Point around May 24, first sightings in more than a decade, but obviously they were on migration further north. Our hope now is that during migration southward later in the year, young subadults will take note of the location of the house and possibly explore.
Activities around the house have included Tree swallows, one attempting to nest in the house, and most recently European starlings, building nests in open compartments, preferring the wooden nesting inserts. These nests have been removed. There was no House sparrow activity. A vigilant Red-winged blackbird regularly presided at the top of the house, possibly keeping away other birds. The plan is to keep several compartments open and continue monitoring until the end of August.
Monitors have been checking the house every 3-4 days. The mechanical system is working well, and all needed supplies, including a ladder and a bucket with pine straw, are secured at a nearby fence. Signage has been added, which explains the purpose and maintenance of the house. Playing the Purple martin dawn song on an mp3player was stopped because it attracted Tree swallows.Photos G. Kutzbach
The Purple Martin House was installed on April 19. Seth Mcgee and Paul Noeldner worked with much cheer and persistence to get the job done. Gisela Kutzbach took the photos.