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Scout arrival 2015 (Photos courtesy of John Balga)

Single male or single female purple  martins which arrive at your site early in the season are usually the martins that have been coming to your colony for a few years now and are anxious enough to be there to claim the best nest sites for the season before other martins arrive. Sometimes martins passing through your area will often stop by to check out individual compartment housing before migrating to their housing in  another area. They will often fly from compartment to compartment causing a scene with their boisterous flying antics and vocal songs.

Communal early Spring roosting occurs when martins from various housing in the area come together before they settle down for the season sometimes at another site or their own if they can attract other birds to the site. Often these martins will congregate at another site since  they seem to enjoy the company of more martins rather than being by themselves in a single house or a single unoccupied colony. They seem to return off and on until more martins arrive at the site and will sneak back to their own colony late in the day under the cover of darkness or just before sunset .

The scout arrival study which has been undertaken for a number of years now by PMCA members and by individual landlords in our area record the day when they notice the martin appear at their site and report the data online to the Purple Martin Conservation Association. The PMCA Scout Arrival Study has been in operation for many years now and because of this database of arrivals, landlords are able to anticipate their own purple martin arrival times as well as those in their immediate area.

Housing is often raised when martins are expected in the  area but the entrances are left unopened  until the first martins arrive. Why? If the housing is opened too early, the landlord is faced with attracting the house sparrows and starlings in the area who compete for the same nest cavities.

To report your colony arrival dates use the link and suggestions below and follow the steps for reporting as recommended by the PMCA. If you would like to report the arrivals to the OPMA so that others may know, send an email to and the information will be posted on the OPMA website.

To view just this year’s results to date, the link will show the North America arrival map. Click on any province or state to view this year’s martin arrival dates. The map will show several purple dots from all the purple submissions as the martins head north with some yellow to show the sub-adult movement.

How to Report : Submit your scout or first martin arrival date for free using the report form on their website or phone, email,fax. or mail them your scout date for the year. If you have other records you’ve never sent, they can be done as well. You must create an account with them to enter the data online or ask someone else who has one to add your data. Creating an account is free and requires no membership dues.

Be involved! Help Conservation! Report your first martin arrival.

Scout Report 

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