Purple Martins & Partnerships:
Purple Martins are known as some of the largest swallows in North America. Purple Martins are known to nest in colonies and are particular about selecting their home base. This makes establishing a new colony difficult without proper consideration and emphasizes the importance of fostering and sustaining current colonies. The birds are less commonly seen in New England and Maine in comparison to other areas; the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife suggests there are likely not more than a couple of hundred pairs in the state. Furthermore, York County Audubon states that a colony on private property in Kennebunk is the only colony that has been identified in Southern Maine. However, the number of colonies in Southern Maine may increase as a result of a project that the York County Audubon, Fish & Wildlife, and Kennebunk Land Trust established to install a gourd rack on the Trust’s Madelyn Marx Preserve. It is the group’s hope that the gourd rack will assist in establishing a colony in the area.
Purple Martins commonly feed high above the ground on various types of insects. Historically, Martins were known to live in a tree’s natural cavity but with increased development in the United States Purple Martins, like many other birds, are now found nesting in man made structures like the one installed at the Marx Preserve.
If you are interested in viewing more photos of this project please visit the KLT Photo Gallery. If you would like to learn more about Purple Martins, The York County Audubon website is a fantastic resource.