We have Purple Martin eggs in two gourds now — a total of 9! It’s rather interesting — one parent couple keeps their eggs uncovered, while the other parent couple carefully covers their eggs with oak leaves. If you stop by to observe the Purple Martins, you might get to see them swoop about collecting insects over the retention pond. It’s really fun to watch! Even when they are high in the sky, they are very much paying attention to what’s going on at the gourds. They are good parents!
Archive for the ‘Purple Martins’ Category
We’ve eagerly been awaiting (and crossing our fingers for) the arrival of Purple Martins to our new gourds, and happily we’ve seen our very first ones this past week. But the best news of all is that there are eggs in one nest, too!
Purple Martins are members of the Swallow family, and they eat flying insects high in the sky. They are known for their dark feathers that have a purple sheen to them. This coloration is most obvious in the adult males.
Purple Martins spend the winter in Brazil and migrate back up to Texas and other area for their breeding season. They’ll head back to Brazil in July or so.
We’ve only opened up a few gourds so far, because we wanted to encourage the first few Purple Martins to arrive while discouraging invasive species like English House Sparrows and European Starlings. English House Sparrows are little and brownish, while European Starlings are iridescent black with bright yellow beaks and orange legs (Purple Martins have dark beaks and legs). Both are non-native “pest” birds that will attack and destroy the nests, eggs, and babies of our native Purple Martins, so we’re trying to keep them from establishing a home in our gourds, and we do this by pulling out their nest material as they put it in. If you see us removing a nest from a gourd, rest assured it’s the nest of a non-native and not-very-nice bird, and not one of our wonderful Purple Martins!
We have an adult pair of Purple Martins that have already laid their eggs. There are five white eggs in the nest. The mama bird laid one egg per day until she laid the fifth and final egg on April 16. It will take about 16 days for the young to hatch.
We expect the babies to hatch around the first week of May. We will keep you updated with pictures!
By the way, have you ever listened to Purple Martins sing? They have a beautiful voice!