The Search for 56 Purple Martins Banded
as Nestlings at Saxon Golf Course Colony Site in 2002
Purple Martin Preservation Alliance
56 Purple Martin nestlings were
banded at the 13 pair Saxon Golf Course colony in 2002. The site consisted of a single
T-14. A second T-14 was added in time for the 2003 breeding season. Of the
15 banded SY martins recovered from the original group of 56, 10 of them (17.9%)
were seen at the natal colony site and another four (7.1%) within a 30 mile
radius, for a minimum of 25.0% that returned either to the natal colony
site or within a 30 mile radius. (See map below) One SY was recovered over 300 miles to
the east in Locust, NJ. To date, a total of 15 of the 56 martins have been
recovered and are known to have survived to return to North America as SY's.
That's a 26.8% minimum confirmed first year survival. Please note that
"recovery" simply means that the bird was seen, either dead or alive. All
of these birds were seen alive with the aid of a Swarovski spotting scope, with
the exception of the New Jersey bird, which perished during an extended period
of cool, rainy weather.
Of the ten martins that were recovered at the natal colony site, eight were subadult males and two were subadult females. Seven of these ten subadults bred at the site. Five of these were males and two females. Interestingly, six of these seven breeders used the newly erected T-14. If this second T-14 had not been erected, these six individuals would have been forced to disperse to breed at other colony sites (or to establish new sites), since the original T-14 was 100% occupied, almost completely by ASY birds.