Purple Martins

Hoy Audubon Society is proud to support a nest box program for Purple Martins in Kenosha and Racine at the following locations.

Purple Martin Report for 2023

The spring started off cold, and so nesting was delayed a bit. During early nesting, we experienced very smoky skies. Unfortunately, I believe that contributed to a number of lost nests and birds. It appeared there was not enough insect food available for the birds to flourish. Martins will lay the most eggs they think they can successfully raise. If the situation changes, they will remove eggs or chicks – brood reduction.

Last year was a record year, but for all the issues; we persevered to another successful year. A few fewer fledglings, but not true disasters. The Racine Water Department with 4 boxes fledged 164; Gateway with one box and 8 gourds fledged 23; the Coast Guard box fledged 52, and Kenosha Water Department fledged 12.

The brightest spot of our year is certainly the newly installed Prairie School box. If you don’t know, a new
installation will be colonized by second year birds—those that were fledged last year and are returning from their first migration to South America. They arrive a bit later than the older birds. Three weeks after the house was raised this spring, we saw three investigating Martins! Regularly there were 6-7 Martins on site, and these first-time parents successfully raised 9 chicks. During mid August we saw 19 birds sitting on the house and in a nearby tree! I think they were awaiting the 9 chicks to fledge.

More good news about Prairie is that the Science Chair, Jean Weaver, and three of her students participated in monitoring during the school year. Afterward, new monitors Caden Klamut and Chris Glass finished their first season.

Thanks go to all Purple Martin Monitors: Karen and Tom Gavahan, Terry Ansel, Jane Raymond, Annie Shace, Debby Eisel, and Marianne Giannis. What a great team!

In summation we are wrapping up the season, saying farewell, and wishing safe travels to our Purple Martin parents and fledglings. It will be very quiet until we see them again next April.

article and photos by Helen Pugh

2-42 Campus Ct, Wind Point, WI 53402

Installed 2023. Can be viewed from Campus Court (north side of the Prairie School campus)

1 Barker Street, Racine, 53402

Looking South: We spaced the second pair of houses further away from the first pair than recommended.
We did this because we had only two monitors and wanted to reduce disturbance time.

The Water Department personnel installed these amazing supports for our posts. This was done because this site is located over concrete with only two feet of soil. We sunk the first pole just fine. The next year the second. That year, the spring winds took them almost down. We rigged up something to straighten them, and then the superintendent put his crew on it. We can plant as many of these as we want, but have been limited by the number of volunteer monitors.

At the mouth of the Root River in Racine

It is within the Pugh Marina (Private) at 1001 Michigan Boulevard, Racine, 53402, but can be viewed from the public walkway across the river.

1001 S. Main Street, Racine (north side just off Lake Avenue)

1001 S. Main Street (south side of 11th Street at upper parking lot)

100 51st Place, Kenosha, WI 53140