Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Purple Martins

The Purple Martins are busy this time of year. The eggs have hatched and the young are hungry.

Condominium living suits them just fine.

In the western U.S., Purple Martins nest in old woodpecker holes, but in the east they choose manmade nest boxes almost exclusively now.

This nest box is at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, Port Washington, Wisconsin.

It stands just off the parking lot. It seems to be at or near capacity.

Probably roomy at birth, now the opening accommodates only one chick comfortably... two's a squeeze.

(Click any picture to enlarge.)

Food deliveries are highly anticipated and thankfully frequent.

Mother Purple Martin is making this delivery. That prompts father Purple Martin to fly off for his turn. Purple Martins are year round insectivores, catching their prey on the wing.

They rarely land on the ground with the exceptions of gathering nesting material or bits of gravel to aid in grinding up insect exoskeletons.

All manner of moths and damsel flies were being devoured today.

Purple Martins are hook-billed, broad-chested swallows that fly high and hunt too far out of range for this ground-hugging photographer.

I must wait for him to return to show what he has caught.

Richly colorful in shades of purple, the Purple Martin could be a welcome addition in your back yard.*

They are common to open lands from Maine to throughout the Great Plains and Florida to Canada.


Credits: The Sibley Guide to Birds
Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds

*Purple Martin Nest Construction Plans: