Monthly Archives: April 2015

West Ipperwash Beach Purple Martin House

This is the purple Martin house built by Steve 
Joksas installed at our home at West Ipperwash 
Beach on Lake Huron. There have been no purple
martin sightings yet.

David and Joanne Blay
 OPMA Member


Mark This On Your Calendar

Tentative Schedule of 2015  MEETINGS and EVENTS of the Ontario Purple Martin Association


a)    All meeting dates are subject to change as necessary.    Any changes will be communicated to everyone.

b)    We will make reminder phone calls or emails prior to each meeting, but this schedule is for your convenience to clip out, or transfer to your calendar.

c)    For the “member-host” meetings, in case of questionable weather, individuals should contact the “host” to confirm if the meeting will be held as scheduled.    It will NOT be the responsibility of the “host” to contact everyone.


9:00 am………. Saturday, Apr. 18…………Orchard View Golf Course

9:00 am………..Saturday, Apr 25………… BLUEBIRD TOUR   (rain date tbd)

9:00 am………. Saturday, May 23…………Home of Cy Poisson

9:00 a.m………Saturday, June 27 …………Home of Dennis Shady

 Jun 28  to    Jul 12   Bird Banding-Contact John Balga/Rob Cornies/Richard Carr to participate.

 9:00 am………. Sept.26………… Closing  Meeting – Orchard View Golf Course


Lots of Martins at HBMO

There was a large influx of martins over the past 4 days. At last count 21 pair were in residence at the colony site. The numbers grew from 4 martins  to 42 in a matter of days and all the recently installed tree swallow boxes were now occupied. It will be time to bring 12 more gourds for the rack on the next visit. The sub adults will need accomodation.HBMO Set Up 2015 Trio Castle Tree Swallows HBMO

Holiday Beach Migration Observatory Martins


IMG_32806 purple martins, several tree swallows, a bank and barn swallow were feeding at the ponds this afternoon under sunny conditions. The 5 male martins were visiting all of the housing units. Four tree swallow boxes were installed as well.

Martin News April 1-7, 2015

Martin News April 1-7, 2015

It has been a while since this section has been updated but it’s purple martin time!

Over the winter I was fortunate to have many visitors to my backyard feeders including cardinals,nuthatches, chicadees, red bellied woodpeckers, cow birds,  chipping sparrows, sapsuckers and blue jays. It was also wonderful to see deer and wild turkeys strutting through the fields. As the Spring approached blue birds, vultures, golden eagles, Canada geese, mallard ducks,  and gulls passed above our property.  Cooper hawks, sharp shinned hawks and harriers used the field behind me as a hunting ground. Everyday this Spring brings a new story to share so I begin this news with that approach.

The weather is somewhat co-operating and the tree swallows have been steadily arriving over the last week to claim their nest boxes. Don Bissonnette informed me that he has made his bluebird rounds with his team to clean and wash the inside of the boxes and he reports that there are  bluebird nests that are half completed. Here in Essex, I’ve seen a male bluebird in my yard but the pair that took up residence last year and fledged young on two separate occasions has not been seen. Tree swallows are visiting this nest box despite my best efforts to discourage them by blocking  the entrance. Up to four pair have now visited my yard over the last week and claimed their nesting boxes. We’ll see how they fair over the next few weeks.

The colony site at Holiday Beach is now in position and there are two housing systems as well as a gourd rack in position offering 24 compartments. The tree swallows have claimed their nesting box for the third year in a row. Dennis and I adjusted the housing last week and cleared the weeds and brush below to deter any HOSP or rodents from hiding . All the nesting compartments are outfitted with SRE and their nesting chambers have straw and pine needles for bedding material. I believe the martins should be arriving the week of April 6, 2015.

Many OPMA landlords have reported their first arrivals and I thank them for their due diligence as they have readied their housing for these arrivals. Gilles Breton was the first to report a martin and a tree swallow at the Woodlands Hill Golf Club. As always, his enthusiasm for these arrivals is so overwhelming.

It is interesting to see how the martins have arrived over the past week in various locations-Morpeth, Forest, Niagara Falls, Long Point etc. There is such a scattering of these early arrivals. The weather will be a key to their survival over the next few weeks as the weather temperatures fluctuate, rainy and snowy conditions come and go. If the martins cannot find food, they will certainly perish so it is important for everyone to monitor this next generation of martins. Unfortunately, Susan Dobbin, Niagara Falls already reported that one female martin died after arriving at her colony. It was a three year old female who was banded in Pennsylvania as a nestling. How she came to Sue’s colony on the Niagara river is a complete mystery. As the car travels she was 160 miles from her natal colony.

Rob Cornies is in the process of adding a new T 14 to his colony set up which he purchased from Aaron Miller in Norwich, Ontario. Aaron and his uncle attest to the use of this Troyer house as both of them have very healthy colonies and the housing is heavily used.

While doing yard work on Monday, April 6th Dennis Shady also reported that he had  to raise his housing as the martins circled overhead at about 10:00 a.m.

Don Bissonnette also reported a single male singing on his TV antenna as he hastily tried to get his gourds ready. Thereafter, he went to the Ford’s to fetch their Trio Castle out of the shed and with Nancy’s  assistance got the housing in place. Nice to see that Don is helping the Ford’s and keeping them in step to the martins.

The Manitoba Purple Martin Club sent us their newsletter and detailed the many events that they had during the past summer. Kevin Fraser showed up at their picnic and demonstrated how the geo-locators on martins work and how they can track them to Brazil and back. They will begin their study this summer with the geo-locators to determine their routes from Manitoba to Brazil. Ernie also mentioned how our club banded over 1000 martins this past year 2014 and how it was important to keep our eyes opened for banded martins.

The Purple Martin Update also arrived at my doorstep and it is also filled with information about Project Martinwatch 2014, New Generation Landlords, Success Stories and Landlord Tips. Why not consider supporting the Purple Martin Association.

I was reminded again by Richard Carr, Walpole Island Purple Martin Project to keep an eye out for geo-locators on returning purple martins this Spring. Several were banded and geo-locators attached during the Summer of 2014 by Patrick Kramer and his associate. Please contact Richard or any of our executive members to verify and assist you with verification or determination of a geo-locator on a purple martin’s back.

It is so interesting to hear from our landlords at this time of year. Everyone  it seems has a story to tell as to how they saw their first martin. Soon enough the crickets  and eggs will be tossed to keep these newly arrived martins alive.

Keep the stories coming!


First Martins Reported (Updated 11/04–5:30 p.m.))

OPMA members reporting their first martins:

April 1       Gilles Breton,  Woodslee, Ontario (ASY Male);

Lyle Papps , Charing Cross, Ontario (ASY Male)

April 2         Phil Carnie, Morpeth  (ASY Male)

Frank Cantanzaro, Harrow (ASY Male)

Leo Dunn, Woodslee (ASY Male)

April 3          Susan Dobbin, Niagara Falls(ASY Male and Female)

April 4          Carol Taves, Wheatley (2 ASY Males)

Mary Wilson, Jim Sudds, Erie Shores, Leamington

Robert Daubs, Forest

April 5           Marieanne Knapp,Essex

April 6           Don Bissonnette, Harrow,(ASY Male)

Al Hamill, Harrow, (2 ASY Male, ASY Female)

Dennis Shady, Ambassador Beach, (2 ASY Males, ASY Female)

April 7            Robert Tanner, Kingsville

Marcella Martin, Essex

Bill Kociuk, Long Point

April 9

Rob Cornies, Kingsville  (3 ASY Males)

April 10

John Balga, Holiday Beach Migration Observatory (5 ASY Males; 1 ASY Female)

April 11

Aad Ahsmann, Leamington; Randy Marentette, Cottam

Tree Swallow on April Fool’s Day

I was walking around putting in new subfloors for my bluebird boxes and a tree swallow starting chirping around me as I was installing them. Let Spring begin with the swallows arriving here in Essex, Ontario.