A Wildlife Article from All-Creatures.org




Saving the Purple Martins from extinction in 2024

From RealityChecks with Staci-Lee
May 2024

No one knows when exactly this practice started or how long it took for the birds to switch from wild nesters to those that nest in manmade habitats. Over the years total reliance on humans became entwined with where they nested. While this practice benefitted farmers who now had a natural pest remover, it took away the birds ability to find habitat on their own.

purple martins babies

I bet you didnít know that Purple Martins were in trouble and in need of our help to save them from extinction. Like most people, I had no idea about their lifecycle and how it centered on successful interactions with humans. Despite being around for millions of years, over time things drastically changed when they went from wild nesters to those that are dependent on humans for their very survival.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Shelly Rozenberg whoís been working tirelessly at saving these birds for many years as the Purple Martin Conservation Coordinator for Audubon Everglades in Florida. The program involves setting up nesting houses, monitoring them when they arrive for breeding season and keeping a record of how many eggs are laid, how many chicks hatch, fledge or die. All this data helps to show whether a population is declining, increasing or stable. The data is collected without disturbing the birds by opening a small window on the side to look inside.

A little bird history

Thousands of years ago indigenous people observed how Purple Martins consumed many insects that damaged their crops. They began to hollow out gourds and put them out hoping to attract them. No one knows when exactly this practice started or how long it took for the birds to switch from wild nesters to those that nest in manmade habitats.

Over the years total reliance on humans became entwined with where they nested. While this practice benefitted farmers who now had a natural pest remover, it took away the birds ability to find habitat on their own. As secondary cavity nesters they donít dig out their own nest, instead they reuse abandoned cavities made by woodpeckers, squirrels or owls. They also return to the same nesting site every year.

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Please read the ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE, including:

  • So many threats
  • How the program works
  • Their fate lies with us
  • Itís not all bad anyone can help save them

Posted on All-Creatures.org: May 15, 2024
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