Watch the Purple Martins Nesting at Milford Point!

June 14, 2017

The Purple Martin colony at the Milford Point Coastal Center is thriving once again. Michael Aurelia, a member of our Board of Directors, and Melina Giantomidis, who is working as a coastal ranger for us this summer, checked this morning and found 30 nests and 67 eggs. That’s a great start!

Thanks to the generosity of Phil Donahue, the film producer and former television talk-show host, we are bringing you live video of the Purple Martin colony, and of the interior of one of the gourds, at our Milford Point Coastal Center. In the bottom view, the gourd that is occasionally shown in close-up is the one with the interior camera, so at times you might see one of the parents approaching in the exterior view and then entering in the interior shot.

Purple Martins feed on aerial insects, which are often caught in the rising thermal air currents that can carry them miles above the ground. The martins follow their food, and may feed so high that they can’t be seen against the blue sky. Most activity at the site tends to take place early or late in the day.

Martins are the one species nesting in Connecticut that we can truly say needs help from humans. A threatened species here, they nest only in human-made structures, either boxes or gourds.

Our colony is at the north edge of the Wheeler salt marsh (we encourage you to see it in person, from the observation deck near the Coastal Center’s parking lot). Purple Martins need open areas rich in aerial insect life. In Connecticut, that usually means coastal salt marshes, but there are a few inland colonies, as well, usually on farmland near a large body of water.

Purple Martins usually arrive in Connecticut toward the end of the first week in April. They will remain through August with a few lingering into the third week in September. Nesting colonies are often quite active early and late in the day.


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108 Responses to “Watch the Purple Martins Nesting at Milford Point!”

  1. Tom Andersen says:

    We are hoping to have it soon!

  2. holly jorgenson says:

    will there be sound on the cam this year?

  3. Tom Andersen says:

    I just checked my records: The last two years we’ve gone live with the interior cam during the first week of June. I expect the same this year.

  4. Tom Andersen says:

    Yes! Soon.

  5. holly jorgenson says:

    will there be a PM cam this year?

  6. John Call says:

    Glad you had a successful year with the Martins!!!!!! 🙂

  7. Milan Bull says:

    Banding tomorrow morning with DEEP!

  8. Milan Bull says:

    The microphone in the camera gourd is not working and although we have a replacement, the installation requires a reconfigured camera cap and that, we feel, would cause too much nest disturbance. We’ll replace it after the young leave the nest.

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