At Indian Jack Slough, New Homes for Purple Martins - Columbia Land Trust
Purple martin. Photo by Shanthanu Bardwaj. Licensed under CC v 2.0.
Good homes for purple martins (and kind of mod, too). Photo by Willapa Hills Audubon Society

Top: Purple martin. Photo by Shanthanu Bhardwaj (licensed under CC v 2.0). Above: Good homes for purple martins (and kind of mod, too). Photo by Willapa Hills Audubon Society

We’re welcoming purple martins to Indian Jack Slough! This spring Columbia Land Trust and Willapa Hills Audubon teamed up to install two purple martins colonies onsite. Akin to the condominium of bird houses, each colony contains 18 dangling gourds that can hold up to 18 nesting pairs and their chicks. Purple martins, the largest of the North American swallow species, migrate from the Amazon basin to North America every spring. They’re cavity nesting birds, and these constructed gourds resemble the hollow tree spaces that they would naturally inhabit. Because of a decline in large-diameter trees and competition from other cavity-nesting exotic species such as the European starling, these manmade structures are important habitat for purple martins. These two gourd colonies are the latest wildlife habitat additions to Indian Jack Slough, where we also have 18 wood duck boxes, a barn owl box, a hawk box, and a bat box. –Sam Schongalla