NY State Purple Martin Project

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Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant

GPS: 42.9933518, -78.213416

2016 data (as of 2016-Jul-29)

# Nests
# eggs
# hatched
# banded
# fledged

Here’s a short description of the site: The gourds on the Batavia rack are equipped with tunnel entrances that prevent European Starlings from entering. Non-native House Sparrows also compete with Purple Martins and can be controlled with tunnel entrance traps with this rack. The artificial gourds have wing guard entrapment ledges inside that prevent martins from becoming stuck in an entrance. The roomy, weather protective gourds provide safety and space for the juvenile martins to exercise their wings. The gourds have access caps that allow Purple Martin volunteer landlords to check nestling conditions every five to seven days. The square three-inch aluminum pole is equipped with a winch to raise and lower the housing during nest checks. The pole has a predator guard to prevent any squirrels, raccoons, snakes or other climbing predators from entrance to the colony. (I saw a Black Rat Snake at water’s edge during the last nest check!) We installed the housing on the lower berm near Wetland Three. This location reduces wind exposure.

During the breeding season of 2014, I opened the rack for the first time and noticed that four of the gourds had SY martins sleeping in them during that time. No nesting took place. In spring 2015, Tree Swallows prevented martins from nesting in the gourd rack, probably as a result of opening the rack too early. Tree Swallows fledged from three nests that season. I opened the gourd rack May 20, 2016, after Tree Swallows were firmly established in Tree Swallow housing within 20 feet. This year was the charm and breeding season 2016 is a great success story!

Purple Martins have returned to Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant, thanks to the Buffalo Ornithological Society grant. We hope to add twelve additional gourds to finish the project in May 2017.

Respectfully submitted,
Celeste Morien Medina, NY


Batavia Wastewater Treatment Plant (BWWTP) in Batavia, NY is a birder's paradise with 400 acres of open space that is open to the public 7AM-3 PM daily, on 9 Treadeasy Drive, Batavia. The lagoon system is said to be the largest east of the Mississippi River. Effluent is not chemically treated and after six to nine months of natural cleansing is discharged safely into Tonawanda Creek. New Plant Manager, Kevin Volk is very friendly and encourages birders to make note of their sightings so he can keep a current list of species sighted at the facility. So far, the plant has hosted approximately 150 -160 species of birds. The only requirement of birders is to sign in at the plant office. Local birders have found uncommon species here, including Northern Wheatear, Willet, Piping Plover, Eared Grebe, Red-necked Phalarope and Bohemian Waxwing, among others.
In 2013, in a joint effort to replace outdated Purple Martin housing at the plant, Buffalo Ornithological Society awarded a grant to New York State Purple Martin Project (NYSPMP), which paid for the installation of a Gemini Gourd Rack and twelve gourds. The Friends of Iroquois, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge and New York State have also been active in funding the NYSPMP/Iroquois/Tonawanda/Oak Orchard Purple Martin sites, and we expected that some of the fledged birds from Iroquois and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Wildlife Management Areas nearby would colonize the new Batavia site. In fact, none of those banded martins nested, however a sub-adult (SY) male martin (#B043) green-banded at Iroquois Job Corp Shop 1 box cavity 3 is currently hanging around with several other SY males. We hope that these males return from Brazil in full breeding plumage to nest in May 2017.


Copyright FINWR, INC. 2012 Web Editor: Bob Hazen