Contributed by David Creelman
Earlier this year, ‘The Martineers’, a small group of local birders who look after the old Purple Martin house at the south end of Grenadier Pond, approached TRCA (Toronto and Region Conservation Authority). The old house (built in 2013 by local students) was rotting away, while an increase was noted, after several lean years, of Purple Martins looking for a home. TRCA staff approved two new houses, doubling our possibilities for the future.
It often takes a while for the birds to find and trust a new structure. But we are pleased to announce the first of the two houses already had new residents. Two Purple Martin chicks fledged this summer and were doing well when last seen.
Purple Martins need human supplied houses for two basic reasons. The birds lost their former nest locations – cavities in mature trees – with intensive settler logging. What was left was often taken by two more aggressive invasive species brought in by European settlers – European Starlings and House Sparrows.
In the picture above, the two young chicks are begging for what looks like a dragonfly.
We hope the second house, replacing the old one on the south shore of Grenadier, will go up this fall.
Keep an eye out for these amazing birds next summer!
Read more about Purple Martins in High Park