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DVOC 1999 and 2000 CONSERVATION GRANTS
Purple Martin Houses

Jan and Ken Gordon - Co-Chairpersons

Supporting an attempt to reintroduce Purple Martins in the Philadelphia area.

DVOC member Doris McGovern has provided this update on the project.

There have been no Purple Martins, nor any other species, including Tree Swallow or even European Starlings, nesting in the boxes that DVOC erected in Philadelphia. Attempts to have the Martins' "Dawn Song" broadcast (by boom box attached to an electric timer) in the pre-dawn hours at Bartram's Gardens and Baxter Water Treatment Plant have been spotty at best. Turnover in water company staff and lack of monitors has been a problem. Since 9/11 birders have no easy access to Baxter and SE Sewage Treatment Plant, so we cannot say for sure that Martins never investigated the boxes. We just don't know.

At other sites such as Neumann College and Pennsylvania Resource Council in Media, Delaware Co. I have been able to attract Martin's who have bred-at Neumann for two years and lingered at PRC during migration for weeks in 2003. I hope they will return next year. Dawn song was played faithfully at both of those sites and birds arrived and investigated within two weeks.

I have obtained a Martin apartment house for JHNWR at Tinicum. The new USFWS management wants to attract Martins, and, if successful, make them a part of Tinicum's educational outreach to grade school students and teachers, as well as the general public who would enjoy seeing them in the parking area. Martins are rarely, if ever, reported over JHNWR at Tinicum. Success at this site would be a major accomplishment and bode well for other attempts to reintroduce this extirpated species to Philly.

DVOC Main Page > Conservation > Conservation Grant 1999 and 2000