Posted on October 26, 2023
On Monday, Oct 16, volunteer Jim Reuter (former Executive Director) came out to close the Purple Martin colony on Balog Island in Armstrong Park for the season. This required lowering the houses to a workable level and cleaning out the old nests, and closing the entrances. Migration begins mid-August, and the birds are gone. They migrate through North America down to South America each year.
Closing the entrances or “bird doors” prevents invasive birds, such as sparrows, from moving in before the Purple Martins migrate back. The sparrows kill young Purple Martin fledglings and their mothers. The Purple Martin birdhouses are designed apartment-style specifically for them and provide safety and protection from the elements, especially during the early summer nesting season. Purple Martin scouts usually arrive during the month of April, and by May the colony birds are paired off and setting up housekeeping. The months of June and July see much activity as eggs are laid, babies hatch and fledging begins.
You can find Balog Island at the west side of Armstrong Park.