For the City Times
Each year many Wisconsinites anticipate the return of purple martins making a 5,000-mile flight from South America to their backyard during April. Purple martins are one of the earliest spring migrants.
They are semi-dependent upon people to provide housing & security for their reproduction to be successful. Because of this close association with people, purple martins need proprietors to be educated to prevent Wisconsin’s sinking population from afar.
On Saturday, April 2, at the Heckrodt Wetland Preserve in Menasha, a free statewide workshop will be presented for interested future, current and former proprietors on purple martins. This need is to keep current colonies vibrant, encouraging new colonies and prevent failure of colonies.
Learn from actual mentors and the statewide organization Wisconsin Purple Martin Association about purple martin ecology, how to attract martins, predator control, maintenance of existing colonies, how to counter weather related problems, being a responsible caretaker and many more martin related items.
Information is available online at http://www.wisconsinpurplemartins.org/ from Wisconsin Purple Martin Association or Heckrodt Wetland Preserve http://heckrodtwetland.org/ in Menasha.
Purple martins are the largest members of the swallow family weighing a little over 2.25 ounces with an overall length of 7-8 inches. Martins are colonial nesting, raising one brood per year laying up to eight eggs. They migrate over 10,000 miles yearly with an average adult life span of around 3-4 years. Once a colony has been established, they are true to returning to the exact spot of the housing.
Since 2013 in Wisconsin, purple martins are listed as a species of special concern. Annual surveys conducted for nearly 50 years (1966-2013) have shown purple martins have declined 6.35% per year in Wisconsin while declining 2.48% per year within the decade from 2003-2013.
Simply stated, annual route surveys went from 591 in 1971 to 34 in 2014. As we approach the time of migration, landlords need all the tools to secure their colonies and benefit from the mentors giving the workshop.
“Purple martins bring an intimate connection to backyard wildlife. Any silence of the melodious call shows our neglect of our historical roots in caring for this species”, said Dick Nikolai, a retired biologist with the state Department of Natural Resources.
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.