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The Purple Martin Colony at the Great Plains Nature Center in 2001

Up May 2000 nest visits June 2000 nest visits July 2000 nest visits 2001 Martins 2002 Martins 2003 Martins

This web page records the progress of our Purple Martin colony in 2001.
For a sequence of pictures from a typical nesting season, see the reports for May, June and July 2000.

They're back!
The first Purple Martin of 2001 - a male - was seen on March 17.  We promptly went out and uncorked the entrance holes in the nests to make them welcome.  (We keep the nests closed from September to March so sparrows and starlings won't be tempted to move in.)  Prior to March 23, the most martins we saw at once were 5, both males and females.

first pair

Our first pair of martins in 2001.
All photos by Jim Mason

In 2001, we expanded our facilities with a special martin house
that is a miniature version of the nature center! 
It has eleven units.  Here is what it looks like.

Installation of martin house
The crew hoists the new house into place.

GPNC junior
Our new martin house awaits its first tenants!

Hungry nestlings!
Feed me!

May 21, 2001
Our first hatchlings in 2001 were in Nest 8.  We had 2 eggs in Nest 1 and little progress elsewhere.  In 2000 at this time we had eggs in 6 nests, and full clutches in 4 of those, so things were running a little slow.

Sadly, we found a dead female in Nest 3.  We were unable to determine how she died.  That may have ended the chance for youngsters from that nest. 

 

In the last week of May, we noticed some starling activity around nest 7.  Sure enough, when we checked we found 5 starling eggs.  So, for the first time, we had to discourage those interlopers from using our gourds.  We removed all their nest material and eggs.

In the other nests we saw more egg-laying (including nest 3, which had the dead female the previous week), and our hatchlings were prospering.  In 2000 our birds were much further along than they were this year.  We believe a spate of cool weather fronts held our birds back.  With fewer insects active and available for food, perhaps the parents waited for warmer weather with more bugs for the babies.

We eventually saw some interest by the martins in the new house, but no nest building.

Here is the summary for 2001.

Date Nest 1 Nest 2 Nest 3 Nest 4 Nest 5 Nest 6 Nest 7 Nest 8

18-April

Partial Nest Partial Nest Partial Nest Partial Nest Partial Nest Partial Nest Partial Nest Partial Nest

7-May

Complete Complete Complete Complete, some green leaves Partial Nest Partial Nest Partial Nest 4 eggs

21-May

2 eggs Complete Complete Complete, some green leaves Partial Nest Partial Nest Partial Nest 4 newly hatched

29-May

3 eggs 4 eggs 3 eggs Complete, some green leaves Complete Complete STARLINGS! 4 nestlings

June 1-24

Due to lack of staff and other committments, we did not check the nests during this time.  Apparently our starlings did not succeed in starting a family, because there were no occupants on June 25.  However, it appears the martins did not do well either.

25-June

4 nestlings 2 eggs Complete, some green leaves Some nest material Some nest material Some nest material Some nest material one bad egg

 

Questions or comments?  Send Email to Jim Mason Spidey
Or write us at: 
Great Plains Nature Center
6232 E. 29th Street North
Wichita, KS 67220-2200             Call:  316-683-5499            Fax:  316-688-9555