Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Purple Martin Recovery in Ladysmith -- 6/15/2015

For the week Herb and I have been guests at Ladysmith Maritime Society Marina, one thing we can always count on is waking to the pleasant chirp, chirp, chirping of the Purple Martin residents on the long visitors' dock.  We can almost set the clock by the music.  Waking a few moments before 5A gives us a short time to enjoy, before there is silence as they fly away from their houses to hunt for food, flying insects only.

It is as if they say, OK, we have announced the new day, now let's find our breakfast.

In the photo below, the thin wooden pole with three nesting cavities attached appears to rise above the distant mountain range.  The final photo shows the wooden marine piling holding a traditional bird house.

In British Columbia the Purple Martins have lost much of their natural habitat due to forest fire suppression, as they prefer old trees and snags with little vegetation underneath.  As a result, the population has declined.

The objective of the BC Purple Martin Stewardship & Recovery Program is to re-establish a nesting habitat and return them to the wild.

Since the first nest boxes were installed by volunteers in 1985, the number of breeding pairs has increased from about five to more than 1,000 pairs.  The colonies are monitored and maintained on an annual basis and contribute to ongoing research studies.

Late in the afternoon we observe a team of volunteers climbing up a ladder to count the number of eggs in the nests.  They expect them to hatch in another week, after we leave the marina.

To get this photo, I use the largest zoom on my Nikon D5000, walking slowly and quietly to get as close as I dare before they fly away to discourage me.

I will miss my wake-up melodies....

Willie of Willie's Tug,
   and of Walldog, Willie and Jake
   Monday, June 15, 2015

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