Western Purple Martin – A Species at Risk: Project Update

PUMA_6individuals_JULY 7_2017-6 downrezOn July 7, it was calm enough in the early morning to kayak up to the Western Purple Martin nest boxes that we installed in the SquamishRiver Central Channel in 2016. They are difficult to monitor, even with a spotting scope, as the boxes are located quite far from shore. Getting some pictures allows us to determine sex, approximate age and whether they have identification bands. There were two adult males and four subadults and at least two had leg bands. Combined with other sightings, we can estimate that there are at least ten individuals in Squamish – a record!

Purple Martins migrate from Brazil and arrive in BC from April to May. The females need to replenish their fat reserves before they can lay eggs and raise young. With the cool spring and lack of insects, the emergence of young Purple Martins will likely be delayed this year. However, young fledglings should start appearing in late July to early August.

Vanessa Isnardy

Photo by Vanessa Isnardy: Six Western Purple Martin individuals at the nest boxes.

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