The Search for 56 Purple Martins Banded as Nestlings. 2003

Ken Kostka
American Swallow Conservancy
Pittsburgh, PA

56 Purple Martin nestlings were banded at the 13 pair Saxon Golf Course colony in 2002. The site consisted of a single T-14. A second T-14 was added in time for the 2003 breeding season. Of the 15 banded SY martins recovered from the original group of 56, 10 of them (17.9%) were seen at the natal colony site and another four (7.1%) within a 30 mile radius, for a minimum of 25.0% that returned either to the natal colony site or within a 30 mile radius. (See map below) One SY was recovered OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAover 300 miles to the east in Locust, NJ. To date, a total of 15 of the 56 martins have been recovered and are known to have survived to return to North America as SY’s. That’s a 26.8% minimum confirmed first year survival. Please note that “recovery” simply means that the bird was seen, either dead or alive. All of these birds were seen alive with the aid of a Swarovski spotting scope, with the exception of the New Jersey bird, which perished during an extended period of cool, rainy weather.

new_pa1Of the ten martins that were recovered at the natal colony site, eight were subadult males and two were subadult females. Seven of these ten subadults bred at the site. Five of these were males and two females. Interestingly, six of these seven breeders used the newly erected T-14. If this second T-14 had not been erected, these six individuals would have been forced to disperse to breed at other colony sites (or to establish new sites), since the original T-14 was 100% occupied, almost completely by ASY birds