In May we mounted Purple Martin nest boxes built by volunteer Joshua Johns on the dock house at the Marilyn and Fred Ellis Preserve (see “Learn at Home Project: Purple Martins” for background).

It seemed a stretch to expect the Martins to discover and establish a new nest site this season, yet to our surprise and delight, they did! By mid-July a beautiful pair were at work preparing and earnestly defending their nest. In early August, chicks were observed stretching eagerly out of the box as the adult birds worked constantly to keep them fed. Now, with young fully fledged, the family’s distinctive calls and energetic aerial foraging are on display around the preserve.

Soon our Martins will begin the long migration to their wintering grounds in South America, but we have added more nest boxes and are ready to welcome them home next summer.