Photo Credit: Karen Lebing
Caption: For nearly two decades a colony of Purple Martins (Progne subis) have returned to houses at the maintenance shop area of the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, to nest and raise their young. Back at the beginning, the Purple Martin houses were built from reclaimed wood and installed by Refuge volunteers, Neal and Pat Moore. The original bird houses were destroyed last fall by Hurricane Dorian. Studies have shown that Purple Martins return to successful nests year after year. Recently, with nesting season looming and with the first Purple Martin scouts arriving from South America, something needed to be done to provide a home for the returnees. Thanks to the North Carolina Purple Martin Society who donated two temporary houses for the birds. Purple Martins are already gathering and building nests at these houses. The two houses are smaller and one fewer than were there previously. There is hope that volunteers will once again step up to provide permanent housing for these beautifully-voiced, hearty insect eating birds.