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Sunday July 24th, 2016

Posted at 10:00am

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On July 16th, a group of volunteers gathered to continue their mission of helping a bird in decline at Colchester Harbour.

Since its launch in May, the Colchester Purple Martin Project has attracted four nesting pairs of martins and their young to the multi-compartment Purple Martin house at the lakeside park.

Banding these young martins helps to identify birds from the area and assist organizations in gathering more data about the Purple Martin and the reasons for their decline.

Organizers say that even though there are several Purple Martin houses near Colchester Harbour, they appear to be vacant or overtaken by house sparrows and starlings, invasive species that are in direct competition with martins.

Since martins are totally dependent on man-made housing, it is important to provide the correct type of housing for their needs. Martins need to be managed on a weekly or bi-weekly basis to keep nest competitors away.

The Town of Essex and Essex Communities in Bloom provided the housing and the Ontario Purple Martin Association assisted with the site planning, construction and maintenance.

In a few short weeks, the martins will leave this area on their southern journey to Brazil. When the martins return next April, members of the Colchester Purple Martin Project hope that people might be able to identify the numbers on their bands and report them to the Banding Lab (800-327-BAND).

Residents who report a bird band receive a certificate from the banding lab detailing important information about the Purple Martin and where and when it was banded.

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