Tag Archives: purple martin

Bird Conservation

Biologist returning young purple martin (Progne subis) into birdhouse after conducting research for BC Purple Martin Recovery Program, Crescent Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Biologist returning young purple martin (Progne subis) into birdhouse after conducting research for BC Purple Martin Recovery Program, Crescent Beach, British Columbia, Canada
The largest swallow species in North America, the western purple martin (Progne subis arboricola), numbered fewer than six pairs in British Columbia in the mid-1980’s.  Because of habitat loss and competition from invasive birds such as the European starling, they were nearly extirpated from the province.
Purple Martin (Progne subis) bird banding and research.
Purple Martin (Progne subis) bird banding and research.
Through a volunteer nest box program, the local population has since grown to around 600 breeding pairs. Each summer, biologists along with volunteers check each nest box. They record the number of nestlings in each nest and apply leg bands to the birds to track their migration and dispersal.  It is part of the BC Purple Martin Stewardship Recovery Program, initiated in 1985. Many of these resilient birds will end up in South America, where they’ll spend their winter, before making their way back to BC the following spring.
Biologist cleaning out purple martin (Progne subis) birdhouse as part of BC Purple Martin Recovery Program, Crescent Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Biologist cleaning out purple martin (Progne subis) birdhouse as part of BC Purple Martin Recovery Program, Crescent Beach, British Columbia, Canada
Photographer Chris Kimmel spent some time with the biologists and volunteers, documenting their research and giving us an intimate look into a species that's on the upswing! You can see the rest of Chris' images here.