Date: 4/4/17 10:42 pm From: Bird observations from western New York <geneseebirds-l...> Subject: [GeneseeBirds-L] First Purple Martin Arrival Oak Orchard WMA
Most of you know that Purple Martins hold a high place in my favorite-bird-ever list, and that much of my volunteer time is spent working at the colonies on and near Iroquois NWR. It's crunch time getting all the housing open this week, by removing aluminum flashing behind cavity doors that keeps anything from entering in the off season. So this afternoon I headed over to open up the housing on Albion Road. I almost gave up after the wind gusts blew away most of the fallen White Pine needles I'd lovingly collected for bedding back in October.
Much to my surprise, I discovered a Purple Martin that had scrunched itself in a tunnel entrance on the south T-14 wooden house at Goose Pond. It looked healthy and alert. I recorded his band numbers, both green band and federal band, which Carl Zenger looked up in our records later. This After Second Year male is 5 years old! He was banded on June 20, 2012 with three other nestlings that all fledged from the same house he's back at this year, just a different cavity in that house.I got the house opened up for him and he went willingly from my bander's grip into some bedding I provided him in his cavity of choice and didn't come out when I raised the house. I'm certainly glad I went over to open the houses, despite the wind!
By my reckoning, this bird has ten one way migration trips to his credit. We know most of our Martins spend our winter near Mauaus, Brazil. That would amount to roughly 33,600 miles of flying!
By the way, we are always looking for volunteers to help us. We fledged 496 young martins last season and we are helping with a PhD study on the parasites in our cavities, so there's plenty of field time for anyone interested, starting soon!