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Jeremy Bensette and his ” Big Year”

346 bird species in 365 days and 100,00 km. How this guy criss crossed Ontario to set a record.

At the last OPMA meeting  on Feb 17 , we were fortunate to hear about the ‘Big Year ‘ of Jeremy Bensette, a 28 year old who in 365 days was able to locate and document 346 bird species in Ontario.

The pinnacle of his success came near the end of his “Big Year,” a term given to birders who devote 12 months to seeing as many species as possible in one geographic area.

The term gained notoriety after the release of a book and then the movie The Big Year, a 2011 comedy, which portrays the true story of a sometimes ruthless competition among three birders starring; Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a look.

“I thought, this is the best moment of my life,” said Bensette, when he broke the record, surrounded by friends. “It was the number one moment of the whole year, when it all came together,” he said. “I wasn’t aiming to break it but it ended up being a massive milestone.”

The hour long talk highlighted the journey across Ontario in all weather and geographic conditions .The sixty people who attended were spell bound and laughed with Jeremy as he related the various incidents which he experienced.

Thank you to everyone who came out to hear Jeremy! May you have another Big Year, Jeremy!

More information can be found on his blog Jeremy Birder.



Gourd Racks and Winds

Purple Martin Products, a site dedicated to the Troyer style of houses and gourd rack has posted some excellent articles on the proper management and engineering of some of their products and the reasons why their products are made  the way they are. Dianne Oberlander has posted some of the reasons why it is important to install a post or ground stake in a particular way.

Read more……

Getting Ready for the Martins

Louise Chambers  has provided some great tips for getting ready for this year. The martins will be here shortly so you may wish to check out these very useful topics which you can download or just read. More information is available at the Purple Martin Conservation website and in their Update magazine..

Tips for using pole systems … fe-412.pdf

T14 pole innovations … le-411.pdf

Pole guards … ds-410.pdf

Owl guards for gourds … mo-408.pdf

Preparing natural gourds … ip-403.pdf

 ID different types of nests you might find in your martin housing … id-378.pdf

The PMCA’s download center, … ad-center/ contains more good articles for those looking for basic information.

 This collection of information, all of which was previously published in the Purple Martin Update or posted on the website or Forum, will help landlords have safe and successful martin seasons. If you haven’t joined this North American organization, you are missing out on many great articles and great information from their forum. If you would like to join, follow the link below.

Forum Administrator Purple Martin Conservation Association –Please consider becoming a member of the PMCA.

Read more at:

Are You Ready For The Starlings?

One of the best methods for preventing starlings from entering  purple martin house entrances is to prepare especially adapted plates and adding them over the existing hole. It may be necessary to cut out the existing hole to accommodate the chosen plate. It is important to mount the plate as close to the floor as possible to make it difficult for the starling to enter. The suggested arrangement is 1/8 inch above the floor. The suggested height of the entrance hole is 1 3/16 inch. The chart below indicates the various plates the can be purchased from various vendors both as prepared entrance plates that can be mounted on the house or doors that already have the desired hole.

Unfortunately, there is very little that can be done to keep other songbirds  from entering the holes. The House Sparrow will readily enter both round and Starling Resistant Entrances.

More information on the history of these entrances can be found under the topic:

Starling Resistant Entrance or Starling Resistant Entrance Opening

Upcoming Meeting of the Ontario Purple Martin Association

Hello fellow Martineers!
The Ontario Purple Martin Association’s first meeting of this new year is just around the corner:
Saturday, February 17 (9:00 am) …..   Colasanti’s Tropical Gardens, Ruthven.
Please note that we are in the “Cactus Room” this time.    Go in the direction of the “Willow Room”, but turn right in the main hallway and you will see a similar wooden structure which is the Cactus Room.   
There are a few things to let you know about this meeting:
…… We are excited to have Jeremy Bensette scheduled as our guest speaker.    Jeremy grew up in Leamington and realized at a young age that his lifetime calling would take him towards nature somehow.     Check out his wonderful blog, and get to know him a little!    
…… Paul Hamel has served back-to-back terms as the Chairperson of the OPMA.    His term is up as of our February meeting, and we invite everyone to give consideration to stepping into this important role.
…… The OPMA will be holding an Ontario “Martinfest” in July 2018.    We are excited about this inaugural event and the possibility that it could grow into a successful yearly endeavour to draw people into our conservation efforts as they learn about this beautiful people friendly bird.    At our meeting, we will be presenting our plans, and welcoming input from all of you as well !
…… Our Treasurer takes annual dues ($20) at our February meeting.    Members who are not able to attend have until the April meeting to pay their yearly dues and stay on our email list for meeting notifications and newsletters. 
……. At our April meeting, we will be doing 2 draws.    All members who have paid their 2018 membership fee by the April meeting date will be eligible for both these draws.    Members do not have to be present to win.
    * A draw for a one-year membership to the PMCA (paid for by the OPMA).  Membership provides     discounts for purchases from the PMCA online shop, as well as 4 issues of the beautiful Purple Martin     Update magazine.    Winner will receive an immediate membership to the PMCA if he/she is not already a     PMCA member, OR will receive a membership for the following year if he/she is already a PMCA member.
    *  A draw for a 1-year membership to the OPMA (membership fee waived).   The winning member will        receive free membership for 2019.
We hope to see you on February 19th !
Mary Wilson

First Purple Martin Arrival 2018

The PMCA has received a purple martin siting  report from

St James City, FL 2018-01-01

You can now monitor their northern journey from South America on the PMCA  Scout -Arrival Study site.

Support the Purple Martin Conservation Association

Another year has come and gone. The New Year is a time to reflect on the events that have come to pass as well as to contemplate the year ahead. A hearty welcome is extended to Joe Siegrist, the President & CEO of The Purple Martin Conservation Association. He replaces Ellen Brockwell in this executive position. We thank Ellen for her dedicated service and communication with our Association. Through her goodwill  the Ontario Purple Martin Association was showcased in their Winter, 2017 update.

Brazil has become the area  where habitat, roosts and Purple Martin habits are being studied extensively to determine martin wintering grounds  loss and declining numbers. Dr. Kevin Fraser and Joe Siegrist have banded and deployed geo-locators on Purple Martins and followed up their location in the Amazon.

Why is this group so interested in Purple Martins? And why are we? All of us are reaching out for more answers. They don’t nest in Brazil so why would they fly there, spend so little time, and come back?   The Martins continue to amaze even there in South America.

Many Clubs have now formed in the U.S. and Canada to learn more about the purple martin and to promote best practices in retaining their declining numbers. The Purple Martin Conservation Association has taken the lead in purple martin research and information. The Ontario Purple Martin Association  continues to support  the Association through its donations.

The PMCA is a non-profit group that is supported by memberships. It publishes a QUARTERLY magazine called “The Purple Martin Update.” consisting of  30 glossy colorful pages. Members may write in and share their purple martin experiences.   Banding, research, migration routes and other topics are reported and landlord letters are answered in its publication.  A yearly catalogue full of Purple Martin accessories is published annually and online availability is provided.   Educational material for clubs is provided free of charge. Canadian membership for the Update magazine is $35.00 in U.S. Funds.

The PMCA would like to extend an offer for a FREE six month membership to all of  the OPMA members. The OPMA can really help them with all the research that they’ve been doing for 26 years. Most recently the PMCA sent out a research survey to all of its members and the information is provided in another post.  To redeem the free offer, call them at 814-833-7656 and let the staffer know that you are calling about a free six month membership for the Update magazine. If you prefer you can email Joe Siegrist at with your name, address, phone number and he can enter your 6 month free membership. Their mailing address is Purple Martin Conservation Association. Tom Ridge, Environmental Center, 301 Peninsula Drive, Ste 6, Erie, P.A. 16505. Phone (814) 833-7656, Fax (814) 833-2451. Email  Once you see this magazine I’m sure you’ll renew and become a full time member of the association.


PMCA Needs Our Help-Pass it on!

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PMCA Scout Arrival Study
The PMCA Needs Your Help! 

We’re conducting a survey of all martin enthusiasts, whether you’re a landlord or not.  A better understanding of what makes a martin fan tick will help the PMCA to find more individuals to help us “ensure the future of Purple Martins”.  The survey only takes a few minutes to complete, but the information you provide will help conserve martins for years to come!

To complete the survey please visit  If you’ve already sent in the paper copy you received in our recent correspondence we thank you.  The more people we hear from, the better we’re able to serve you, and the martins!  Please share this survey with your friends and to any martin groups that you participate in.  Here’s looking to a very successful 2018 martin season!

Purple Martins will be here soon!  Check the PMCA’s Scout-Arrival Study to see when the first arrival happens.
Perfect gift for the martin fan?  A PMCA membership!
Last minute shopping?  Remember to shop throughAmazon Smile—Amazon donates a portion of the purchase price to the PMCA.
Purple Martin Conservation Association
Copyright © 2017 Purple Martin Conservation Association, All rights reserved.

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