Glossary of Purple Martin
Birding Conservation Association. The ABCA is an organization,
founded by Chris J. Slabaugh of Nappanee, IN. The ABCA us
a dynamically dedicated group of people actively improving
conservation and the environment; promoting and providing
better housing and habitat for our beneficial native birds,
especially the Purple Martins and the Eastern Bluebirds.
that has rotted and contents are not viable.
that has reached sexual maturity. Though martins can breed
by the end of the first year, martins are not considered
full fledge adults until they return for their third summer.
Bird that has reached sexual maturity. Though martins can
breed by the end of the first year, martins are not considered
full fledge adults until they return for their third summer.
aerial insectivore Birds
that forage for flying insects.
nests New technique
of providing a man-made nest and installing it into the
martin house compartments. Artificial nests are typically
made from Styrofoam?and from wood.
designating adult Purple Martins. ASY means After Second
wall installed into martin house compartment that both
hides martins from outside predators and provides protection
and privacy for the martins.
procedure by licensed and permitted banders to place authorized
US Fish & Wildlife Service aluminum or plastic bands
on the legs of birds' feet. Records are kept of these banded
birds so that when the bird is captured, found injured or
dead, it can be identified as to where it came from, who
banded, etc Bird banding is a universal and indispensable
technique for studying the movement, survival and behavior
of birds. The North American Bird Banding Program is jointly
administered by the United
States Department of the Interior and the Canadian
Wildlife Service. Their respective banding offices have
similar functions and policies and use the same bands, reporting
forms and data formats. Joint coordination of the program
dates back to 1923.
large bird of prey. An owl. A bird that inhabits low
laying wetland type habitats. Known predator of Purple
birds of prey Birds that are carnivorous,
like hawks, owl, falcons, and eagles.
breeding season Length of time from courtship
to fledging of young. In martins, this is approximately 70 days.
brood patch Bare spot on breast of female
martins. Area of skin that has many blood vessels close to the skin that conduct
the female's body heat to the eggs during incubation.
martin houses with a rope and pulley system, a piece of metal
with an upper and lower project arm to which rope is attached
co-habitate In bad Purple Martin management
by landlord, the allowance of House Sparrows or European Starlings nesting
in the same house with martins. Typically misconstrued as OK, but is not in
the best interest of martins or the interest in general.
contiguous porch Porches on martin houses
that run completely down the sides, or all sides, connecting multiple compartments.
Houses with contiguous porches should have porch dividers. See porch dividers
courtship Point in the breeding season
where the males vie with one another to interest females. May be considered
to be time when the pair are seeking a colony site or constructing a nest.
crescent-shaped entrances Also called
half-moon entrances. Starling-resistant entrances that are cut from a 3" circle.
A line is drawn from the top, 1 3/16" down. This half moon is the template
and the entrance must be properly installed within one half inch of the porch
or floor. These starling resistant entrances were designed by Charles McEwen
of Moncton, NB, Canada.
martin lure tape. A collaboration of The Purple Martin
Conservation Association (PMCA) and Cornel Laboratory of
Ornithology. Considered by most to be the one and only
lure tape. It is not the typical sounds of martins but
special sounds by adult males in the predawn hours at the
time of the subadult martin arrivals. It is thought to
be a communication between adult males and subadults to
encourage the younger birds to nest in the same colonies
as the adult males.
DE Diatomaceous Earth. Considered to be
a biologically safe product to use for typical nest parasites such as fleas,
lice and mites. Not good for blowfly maggots. Sprinkle a teaspoon in and around
constructed nest. Do not sprinkle under subfloors in martin houses as dust
will fly around and birds will breathe it in. DE is a microscopically sharp
product that when it comes in contact with small parasites, cut them up, like
a birdie vegematic.
Diamotaceous earth See DE above.
ovum, yolk and albumen contained within a membrane and a shell of calcium.
That from which a young bird hatches.
eggs / Purple Martin Purple
Martin adult egg clutches are 5-7 eggs with an uncommon 8-clutch
occasionally. Subadult martin pairs typically lay 3-5 egg clutches. Eggs are
spherical in shape, or long spherical in shape. The size is 24.5 x 17.5
mm. The egg color is white with a slight gloss. Eggs are laid, one per day
by the female. Incubation begins with the "next to the last egg that is
laid" so that all eggs hatch within the same time period. Incubation is
from 15-17 days. Since females have the brood patch, the females can only incubate
the eggs. The males can only insulate the eggs while the female is out feeding
eggtooth A specialized structure on the upper beak of a
bird embryo in which the soon to be hatched bird uses to chip away at the center
area of the egg hemispheres to release itself from the confines of the egg.
The eggtooth structure falls off within a few days of hatching.
English House Sparrows A non-native bird
species to this continent from Europe. A tenacious nest-site competitor of
Purple Martins and many other cavity nesting birds. Male is brown with conspicuous
dark brown bib. Female is lighter brown and pedestrianly colored. These sparrows
are one of the main reasons for the decline of martin and other native birds
in the last fifty years.
European Starlings A non-native species
from Europe. A strong nest-site competitor with a fierce long yellow beak,
hence, the nickname, needlebeak. Considered to be, along with House Sparrows,
a main reason for the decline in Purple Martins. Birds have long legs,
bright yellow beaks and are brightly marked and speckled in wintertime.
exoskeleton Outer tough exterior of insects.
Many times, exoskeletons are found inside the nesting chambers
by young birds that is gleaned from the nests by the
parents, flown a distance from the nest and dropped.
In early stages, parents may ingest these as there is
much nutrient that passes right though very young nestlings.
This is a time, that the parents do not have much time
to forage for themselves but only for their young.
Federal Migratory Bird Treat Act This important
law protects all common wild birds found in the US, except the
House Sparrow, European Starling, feral pigeon and resident game birds in season.
fledge The act of leaving the nest by
nestlings. First wing.
fledgling A bird that has recently left
the nest but still depends on its parents for food.
muscle of the stomach that digests food of birds. Usually
contains small stones or grit ingested by birds to aid
the gizzard in its digestive process.
gourd A strong walled, or thick skinned
plant with a large cavity. Related to pumpkins and squash. Usually, irregular
in shape. Hollow Calabash or other bottle gourds have been traditionally used
as bird houses for Purple Martins, wrens, etc. In martins, must be large, 11" diameter
and thick skinned.
gourd, natural See gourd above.
gourd, plastic Manufactured synthetic
gourd, made from special plastic with a lot of UV inhibitors. Today's plastic
gourds have large cavities, snap out front, rain canopies and access holes
for landlords to monitor the martins inside.
Great Horned Owl Large bird of prey and owl.
Considered to be by many martin landlord, the #1 predator of Purple Martins.
A lean, mean predator machine! Owls are protected by law.
grit Coarse particles, like sand, pebbles,
eggshells, etc, that birds pick up and is deposited in the gizzard to help
aid in the digestion in the gizzard.
ground-climbing predator Animals that
have the agility to climb both metal and wooden martin poles in search of food.
These are raccoons, opossums, cats, squirrels, and snakes.
ground-climbing predator guard Structure
attached to either the martin house or martin house pole to prevent the advancement
and subsequent access by ground climbing predators such as raccoons, opossums,
cats, squirrels, and snakes. Types are stovepipe baffles and 40" inverted
- I - J - K - L
structure, made of metal, wood or plastic that will give
shelter to nesting martins.
of birds that eat diets of insects.
juvenile Young bird that is no longer
under the care of its parents and on its own but has not molted its juvenile
kleptoparasitism Kleptoparasitism is the
stealing of food or nesting material by one animal from another.
kleptoparasitism of nesting materials The
behavior of stealing another bird's, or pair's, nesting materials. Usually
stolen while the other bird is away from the nest. Common behavior in both
adults and subadults that are short on time to build their nests.
landlord You and I! The devotees who not
only put up martin houses to attract martins, but those who manage well and
keep good records of their colonies.
lure tape A tape, or cd, designed to attract
martins to a new colony site. Dawnsong is a martin lure tape.male
porch domination A behavior in adult
males whereas the adult males do not allow other birds to nest next to them
on contiguous floors. Behavior where the adult males guard the compartments
next to them but also all along the contiguous porch. Occasionally, adult males,
and some females, will guard an entire martin house and keep all martins from
nesting in the same house. Porch dividers are very important in preventing
type of swallow.
mate guarding Behavior by males whereas
the males stand guard their fertile females everywhere they go to thwart off
advances of other males in order to insure their paternity.
migration To go to another place. The
routine of travel for birds from their breeding grounds to their wintering
ground and vice versa. Usually done in order to find adequate supplies of foods.
Nature Society News, The
nestling crossovers The act of nestlings venturing out,
or crossing over, to a different compartment than their own natal compartment.
Crossovers can endanger nestlings. Many older nestlings enter a compartment,
not their natal cavity, and commandeer food from younger nestlings. Younger
nestlings may die from their food being confiscated by older nestlings while,
many times, these older nestlings (unfledged birds) are unable to find their
way back to their own natal compartments. They may "wander" along
the contiguous porches only to either be knocked off (by unattached and/or
first year males) or fall off the house and become doomed on the ground.
nestling wanderings The act of nestlings as they roam the
porches before they fledge.
scientific study of bird eggs. Bird eggs sizes are sized
in millimeters, the standard in oology. In measurements,
the length is given first, then the width. In order to
measure eggs accurately, calipers are used. Purple Martin
eggs are typically 24.5 x 17.5mm
for porch dividers. See porch dividers below.
pipping The breaking, or chipping, action by the bird
embryo to release itself from the egg confines. This chipping is done by a
specialized "eggtooth" on the end of the upper beak of the embryo.
The eggtooth structure falls off within a few days of hatching.
PMCA Purple Martin conservation organization,
founded by James R. Hill, III. PMCA considered
to be the research base from which much PM information comes from.
porch dividers Partitions placed
between compartments on a long, contiguous porch to prevent Male Porch Domination
by adult males and nestling wandering or crossovers. Partitions can raise the
residency rate in PM houses from the typical 50-65% to 75-100%.
roost (n) According to Terres Encyclopedia of North American
Roost: Term for place for flocks of blackbirds, starlings,
robins, and other species sleep together in trees, shrubbery, or reeds and
other upright grasses in marshes.
roost, in PM terms, is an enroute migratory habitat whereas
roost, rest, and feed for a period of time on their northern/southern
migration. Martins are known to roost in the city parks of
São Paulo, Brazil while on their wintering grounds. On the
North American continent, we have found many roosts in the
last ten years. The first and largest is at the Lake
Ponchartrain Bridge between Metairie and Mandeville,
LA. There are two distinct martin flocks that roost underneath
the Lake Ponchartrain Bridge: the south flock on the Metairie
side (thought to be mostly migrants) and the north flock
(thought to be mostly local birds) six miles from the north
end of the bridge.
Other known large
roosting areas are under many bridges along the Gulf, like
the one at Biloxy, MS and Dauphin Island, AL, in Mobile Bay.
There have also been roosts on the I-45 bridge leading to
Galveston Island and State Highway 147 over Sam Rayburn Reservoir
and State Highway 21 between Milam, Texas and Many, LA. A
few short years ago, an important roost was discovered at Lake
Murray, SC, NW of Columbia, SC.
roosts have been discovered at Presque Isle State Park on
Lake Erie in Erie, PA, Corpus Christi, TX,downtown in the
city of Chicago at Montrose (staging) and Belmont Harbors
(roosting) on Lake Michigan, in Texas in Wichita, Lewisville,
rope and pulley
S & S
scout arrival date
Scout Report, The
similar birds (to martins)
subadult arrival date
Top-Guard Animal Barrier
- V - W - X - Y - Z
The PMCA PM
Zook PM Elevator
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