Category Archives: Ontario Purple Martin Association

Point Pelee Roost Numbers Continue to Grow

After visiting the Pelee Roost on 8/10/2018, it has been quite interesting to actually see the staging areas along Mersea Rd. D and Mersea Rd. E. grow in size and numbers. Of particular note is Purple Martins staging in Poplar and Willow trees before entering the Roost area. The martins continue to put on a show in great numbers as they fly over with their young just after sunset. Since the days are getting shorter and the sunset earlier, it is best to arrive at least 45 minutes before the martins arrive to see the actual activity. If you need further directions on how to get to the roost contact martinman@hotmail.com. The photo section reveals the thousands of martins passing by  .

Purple Martin Roosts are Forming

What is a Roost?  In late summer after leaving the nesting colony, Purple Martins gather in large flocks to feed, socialize, and rest before migrating down to South America.  This activity, known as migratory roosting, can attract thousands of birds to one small area.  Martins also form winter roosts on their South American wintering grounds where they will often flock together with other martin species. Often roost  will form on Doppler radar in the form of a ring or crescent or even a large mass of dots. The best time to view the images is between 8-10 UTC or MT. The header image shows these roost rings in Canada and the US. The doughnut shape is located at Point Pelee National Park.

 

Where to Find a Roost?  

Typically migratory roosts are found;

* in larger bodies of water—reed beds and dry islands with low thick brush provide sanctuary from predators and a micro-climate warmer and less windy than land

* in urban and suburban areas roots can be found in trees or man-made structures such as bridges and pipes

* winter roosts in South American can occur in urban settings—often in small parks and in the Amazon rainforest.

There are many migratory roosts scattered around North America and some can be very large.  Some roosts may contain hundreds of thousands of martins.  Many martin roosts are large enough to be detected by weather radar.  Studies indicate that martins using a particular roost may come from a wide geographic area.

Individual martins may use a roost for several weeks before migrating, but the roost itself may last 8-12 weeks or more until all birds are gone.  Once established, martin roost locations may be reused for many consecutive years.

Roost Conservation

Migratory and wintering roosts are critically important to the annual life cycle and ecology of Purple Martins.  Roosts can be a spectacular sight with tens or even hundreds of thousands of birds descending at dusk.  Visiting a roost is a unique experience, and roosts can provide community and conservation groups a focal point for environmental education programs, birding festivals, or ecotourism promotions.

How You Can Help:  Project Martin Roost is a cooperative research project between the Purple Martin Conservation Association, its members, and bird enthusiasts everywhere, designed to protect and promote Purple Martin roosts in North and South America.

Nature Canada has joined forces with the public to locate roosts in Canada and asks everyone who finds a swallow roost to contact them.

The first step in conserving Purple Martin roosts is documenting their occurrence.  Radar images suggest that more than 350 migratory roosts occur in the eastern U.S. and Canada; however most of these locations are undocumented.  Where exactly are these roost sites?  How many exist in North and South America?  Are there any issues with established roost sites?  This is where you can help the most!

Where do they go after they leave the roost?

The PMCA has produced an excellent video found on YouTube following the voyage of Purple Martins from 2011-2014.

Check it out:

Journey South and Backhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMPxlXuukIg&app=desktop

 

MartinFest Update

Hello OPMA Members,

Our first Purple Martin Festival is behind us, and we want to provide a quick report for now, but more detail will follow in a later newsletter and on our website.
The weather was PERFECT!     The unusual week-long heat wave finally broke, and a mild breeze, sunshine, and normal humidity levels provided a beautiful day and probably helped to bring people out.   

We had 133 people sign our guest book, but suspect that there were very many more who attended without stopping by our Welcome table.     We had attendees from Alberta and Belarus (here on vacation with family), from Thornhill, Ottawa, Michigan, and many points throughout Essex County. 

Colchester Park and Harbour is a really excellent site, with a spectacular view of the lake, marina, and a snack bar/restaurant within walking distance.    We are thankful to the Town of Essex & Essex Communities in Bloom for use of this site for our event.   
Our Purple Martin colony (11 nesting pairs), located on the top of the hill overlooking the lake, seemed to know they were the star attraction, and posed on the overhead wires for pictures.   Folks unfamiliar with Martins got to see and hear the typical activity of a Martin colony.     
The talks were informative and quite well attended, and the 2 banding sessions drew a crowd.    The area for kids’ activities was busy all day, with so many creative games to play, all with a focus on Purple Martins!     
We had photographers taking pictures throughout our event, and several newspaper reporters were there also. 
Many responded to our suggestion of a donation to help the local Food Bank, resulting in two large bins being filled to the brim, as well as receiving some monetary donations!

This was a fantastic experience!    We will build on the positives, and make adjustments where necessary, but overall, we felt our first MartinFest was very successful in our goal of spreading interest in the conservation of Purple Martins.  

We want to express our gratitude to all who helped to make this event possible: 
  • to all of our members who shared our event through social media, who posted our printed flyers in their local areas, and who came to see us at MartinFest, 

  • to our members at MartinFest who spent time interacting with the public, answering questions,and sharing their expertise and experiences;  

  • to those who took care of advertising in newspapers, on radio, TV, and other online venues; arranging for bales of straw and boards for seating, obtaining sound projection for the speakers, lending canopies, providing water, making display boards, providing handouts, and hauling truckloads of the above (and more), in and out …. and many other tasks too numerous to list, 
        
  • to those who arrived early to lay out the site-map and erect all of the canopies, tables, chairs, put up banners, etc., and those who came and/or stayed specifically to help with take-down and cleanup, (John Balga, Fern & Linda Bellavance, Richard & Susan Carr, Ron Delcourt, Brian Drew, Paul & Kathy Hamel, Al Hamill, Marianne Knapp & family, Karen & Dennis Koestler, Cy Poisson, Carolyn Recker, Nancy Robson, Dennis Shady, Carol Taves, Jon & Ann Taylor, Mary Wilson);

  • to the vendors who showcased their unique goods and crafts (Arbor Herbs & Lavender, Natural Soy Candles, Native Trees & Plants, Laser Design Co., Plein Air Artists of Windsor & Essex County);
  • to the participants whose displays and information represented their particular connection with the OPMA and our event (Essex Communities in Bloom, Nature Canada, Pelee Island Bird Observatory, Walpole Island Purple Martin Project, Holiday Beach Migration Observatory)
     
  • to our Welcomer who provided a guest book and greeted as many visitors as possible, 
    (Monica Poisson; assisted by Nancy Robson)
       
  • to all of our speakers who presented their particular topics, (Dennis Shady, John Balga, Ron Delcourt, Lou Kociuk, Mary Wilson, Lyle Papps, Nature Canada, Pelee Island Bird Observatory)

  • to the team providing the kids with a wonderful array of games and snacks throughout the day,(Susan Carr, assisted by Penny Williams, Carol Holley, Kathy Hamel)

  • to the bird banders who conducted two separate banding sessions, (Richard Carr & Ron Delcourt)

  • to the photographers who recorded the day, (Jeremy Wolting & Brian Houston)
     
  • and to our MartinFest Committee, for their organization of and commitment to this project. 
    (John Balga, Richard Carr, Paul Hamel, Al Hamill, Marianne Knapp, Mary Wilson)
Thank you SO MUCH, to everyone who took part in any way!   We feel blessed to have such support from our membership from the beginning of this experience right through to July 7th!    

Our success is due to the contributions of all of you !!!!! 

 
With sincere appreciation, 
The OPMA Board 

Mary Wilson

Secretary

 
 
 
 
Mary Wilson
Secretary-OPMA   

OPMA MartinFest Scores Big

 

(Harrow News July 10, 2018)

The weather co-operated on Saturday , and a mild breeze, sunshine, and normal humidity levels provided a beautiful day. Streams of people both young and old enjoyed the shady areas  and  searched out information about our friends the Purple Martin.

One hundred and thirty three  people signed the guest book, and suspect that there were very many more who attended without stopping by the Welcome table -unofficial estimated over 200 .  Attendees came from Alberta and Belarus (here on vacation with family), from Thornhill, Ottawa, Michigan, and many points throughout Essex County.

Colchester Park and Harbour is a beautiful site, with a spectacular view of the lake, marina, and a snack bar/restaurant within walking distance.    The Town of Essex & Essex Communities in Bloom  attended the Festival and thanks go out to the committee for their support.

The Colchester  Purple Martin colony (11 nesting pairs), located on the top of the hill overlooking the lake posed on the overhead wires for pictures.  They were the heroes of the day as they twittered and flew to their own particular song. Folks unfamiliar with Martins got to see and hear the typical activity of a Martin colony.

The talks were informative and quite well attended, and the two banding sessions drew a crowd.    The area for kids’ activities was busy all day, with many creative games to play, all with a focus on Purple Martins.

Photographers took pictures throughout the event, and several newspaper reporters were there also.

(Essex Free Press July 12, 2018)

Martin Festival is over, and the following photos provided by Jeremy Wolting will  outline the day’s festivities.

 

MOTUS Application at Holiday Beach Migration Observatory

31 Motus Tags were applied to Purple Martins at Holiday Beach Migration Observatory Station

 Motus tags were applied to  four families at Holiday Beach colony  with the support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) and with wonderful co-operation from Nature Canada’s Ted Cheskey , Brodie Badcock-Parks and Dr. Kevin Fraser from the University of Manitoba and Patrick Kramer from the Pelee Island Bird Observatory.

HBMO and OPMA were involved in this adventure which netted at least four individual Purple Martin families with their young. The highlights of this Saturday night and Sunday tagging are located below with pictures detailing the capture, processing and application of MOTUS tags. A picture of a  NANO tag-MOTUS tag is included.

The unexpected visit by a four foot Fox Snake captured the interest of many including the discovery of its shed skin.

Thank you to all for their cooperation, educational expertise and insight, good humour, great doughnuts and the wonderful picnic lunch.

We look forward to the tracking results of these families and their young on their journey south while the MOTUS tags deliver their signal for 3 months.

 

Full House

Bill Read, President OEBA admires Purple Martins…Lou’s wife Sue hopes washing will dry quickly.

Regards,

Lou Kociuk

Long Point, Ontario

Purple Martin Festival in just Two Days

Ontario Purple Martin Festival

Date: Saturday July 7th, 2018 
Time: 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Where: Leamington, Ontario
Open to the Public: Yes

General Comments:  ?The Ontario Purple Martin Association is hosting the first ever ‘MartinFest’ to celebrate this much-loved native North American bird. The Purple Martin is unique in its tolerance of, dependence upon, and desire to be close to humans! 

Our event is FREE, and will take place within sight and sound of an active Purple Martin colony. We will have presentations, vendors, kids activities, and speakers discussing a variety of issues related to attracting this beautiful bird to your backyard, and ready to answer any and all questions. Bring a non-perishable food item for the local food bank!

Come and join us: 10:00 am to 3:00 pm

Address: Colchester Harbour / Beach

                  100 Jackson Street

                  Colchester Park, Ontario

 

Hope to see you there!

Nano Tags, HBMO, OPMA, Nature Canada, University of Manitoba

Holiday Beach Migration Observatory, Ontario Purple Martin Association and Staff of Nature Canada: Broderick (Brodie) Badcock-Parks, Ted Cheskey and Dr. Kevin Fraser from The University of Manitoba intend to deploy Motus tags on five Purple Martins families at Holiday Beach Conservation Area next Saturday (July 7th, 2018) evening and next Sunday (July 8th) throughout the day. Similar to GPS and geo-locator devices, the birds wear the nano-tags (radio-tracking device) like a small backpack. Each nano-tag is programmed to emit a unique radio signal every 10 seconds which can be detected up to 15 km away from Motus towers or receiving stations. Each time a tagged bird comes within contact of a receiver, it records the signal to document their comings and goings. The nano-tags weigh  just 0.67g and they do not need to be recovered in order to access the data.

The Motus Wildlife Tracking System (Motus) is a coordinated network of radio-telemetry arrays managed under a common database that facilitates tracking movements and behaviours of small organisms at local, regional, or even hemispheric scales.

Motus is a program of Bird Studies Canada in partnership with collaborating researchers and organizations.

Find out more about this tracking system by pasting the url in your browser.

https://www.birdlife.org/americas/news/tiny-transmitters-tracking-birds-north-south-america