Connecticut Audbon Society

Monday Bird Report: Purple Martin Photo Essay & Live-stream

June 29, 2020 — Monday morning joy: the Purple Martin colony at the Milford Point Coastal Center is thriving.

It’s no accident. Donations from dedicated members and supporters help fund it, and hard work by staff and volunteers gives these large swallows the best chance. Each week a team, led by Coastal Center Regional Board member Frank Mantlik, checks and maintains the nests.

At this time of year, that’s a four-person job. Frank just emailed:

“We conducted our 6th nest check of the Purple Martin colony on Friday, 6/26/2020. We expected to have some chicks, but didn’t expect 100 already! Age range: newborn to 6-days. And still at least 59 eggs. Team consisted of Stefan Martin, Kat Gillis, George Amato and I. (Thanks Lori Romick as well).”

A group of dedicated supporters of the Coastal Center have each “adopted” Purple Martin gourds to help pay for the gourds themselves and the maintenance that a thriving colony requires.

You can get in on it as well.

It is immensely satisfying to see your donation have a direct impact on bird conservation.

Your adoption will help maintain the structures and support the staff effort to monitor and clean the nests each week — essential tasks for protecting Purple Martins.

A numbered gourd will be assigned to you. As in immediate thank you and acknowledgement of your generosity, we’ll hang a paper gourd with your name on it (or a name you indicate on the registration) in the windows at the Coastal Center.

You’ll receive weekly updates about the gourds, the status of the nests being built in them and a copy of the end-of-season report.

Supporting the colony also makes a great gift for members of your family or friends!

The cost is only $60 per gourd. Click here to adopt your gourd today!

Because of the work at the Coastal Center and elsewhere, Purple Martins are doing well across Connecticut. So well in fact that the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection recently removed them from the state’s list of threatened species. That’s a result we all can be satisfied with!

Frank Mantlik took the photos on the right, on June 26 and June 20.

And watch our just-activated Purple Martin Cam, inside one of the gourds.


George Amato, Katerina Gillis, and Stefan Martin, left to right, assemble at the gourds. © Frank Mantlik


A Check of the gourds on June 18 found these eggs.  © Frank Mantlik

A Frank Mantlik selfie. © Frank Mantlik

These hatchlings are one day old. © Frank Mantlik

These are about five days old. © Frank Mantlik

Volunteer George Amato open a gourd. Like Frank Mantlik, George is a member of the regional board of the Milford Point Coastal Center. © Frank Mantlik

Katerina Gillis checks a gourd. Kat is spending the summer protecting birds as a Coastal Ranger at Milford Point. © Frank Mantlik

An adult make Purple Martin with insect, photographer on June 26, 2020.  © Frank Mantlik

Stefan Martin cranks down the gourds so they can be inspected.  © Frank Mantlik

A female Purple Martin, with insect. © Frank Mantlik

Perching atop one of the gourd poles. © Frank Mantlik







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