Western Purple Martin Foundation

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About Us

Mission Statement        WPMF Brochure      Our Directors

The Western Purple Martin Foundation is a charitable nonprofit society founded in 2006 to assist and enhance the conservation of western Purple Martin populations along the West Coast of North America where they are a Species At Risk throughout their range. Our current conservation and research efforts are directed towards the Blue-listed (Vulnerable) British Columbia Purple Martin population.

A small group of volunteers started a nest box program for BC Purple Martins back in 1985 when martin numbers were extremely low and a few were observed nesting in pilings around Victoria Harbour and at Cowichan Bay. As martin numbers increased so did the number of volunteers and locations where boxes were installed.

volunteers building nest boxes
The number of boxes available for Purple Martins doubled to ~1000  when 500 new nest boxes were built under a BC Ministry of Environment contract and put up at marine locations around the Strait of Georgia in 2000 and 2001.

installing nest boxes

Our Senior Biologist actively participates in the BC Purple Martin Recovery Program and now coordinates the activities of 145 colony stewards and volunteers and 2 summer students monitoring 1500 nest boxes distributed among 70 marine and 20 freshwater nest box sites. Our volunteers monitor Purple Martin activities throughout the breeding season to document active colony sites and the number of nesting birds. Some conduct nest box checks to count the number of eggs laid and later the number of nestlings produced. Others participate in annual banding and band reading studies. The Senior Biologist analyzes the data recorded by staff, summer student assistants and volunteers each season and produces reports for our funding partners, provincial government agencies, and the International Western Purple Martin Working Group.

banding nestlingsThe BC Purple Martin Recovery Program is community based and our Directors and volunteers share a common interest in the conservation of wildlife and habitats in BC. Our volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds and include individuals, First Nation groups, naturalist and conservation groups, corporations, universities and federal, provincial, regional and municipal departments. Our volunteers work closely together and get to experience firsthand the satisfaction of bringing a species back from the brink of local extinction.

martins nesting in snags

Our short-term goal to increase Purple Martin numbers in BC to 800 pairs by 2012 was reached. Our mid term goal is to re-introduce BC Purple Martins back into remaining natural nesting habitat at freshwater sites and our longer term goal is to redevelop a sustainable wild-nesting population. Our goal is to raise $100,000 annually for program coordination, monitoring, maintenance and research.

Website funded in part by the Ladysmith Maritime Society
Original website design by Danielle Morrison
Page last modified 17 Jan 2016