[Tweeters] Re:Weird Purple Martin Behavior

stan Kostka lynn Schmidt lynnandstan at earthlink.net
Sun Jun 21 20:46:52 PDT 2015

Hi Dave, I have seen martins take over tree swallow nests many times, by throwing eggs out, by throwing young out, and sometimes building a new nest right on top of swallow eggs or nestlings. You say you've not seen a male, but it is almost certain that at least one, and likely more, of the female type martins are in fact subadult males (born last year), which do breed if they can attract a female. Subadult male plumage is similar to that of females in ways, but there are subtle differences. Males do not acquire their namesake all purple, blue-black plumage until after their second year. If any of the birds is singing the long courtship song that ends with clicking sounds, it is a male. Females call, and chortle to some extent, but they do not sing that particular song. Thanks for posting and I will be interested to know how things progress there.

Stan Kostka
lynnandstan at earthlink.net

Subject: Weird Purple Martin Behavior
Date: Sun Jun 21 2015 22:17 pm
From: dpdvm AT whidbey.com
Hello Tweeters!
Earlier this summer, one of the plastic Martin gourds I set up on my beach on Dines Point, Whidbey Island, was occupied by a Tree Swallow pair. Last week, four female-type Purple Martins showed up, tossed the Tree Swallow nestlings out and began building their own nests in two of the gourds. They remain like they own the place, all sing a very loud song, sometimes duetting, and we have never seen a male. I am completely unfamiliar with Martins and would appreciate any ideas about this behavior.
Dave Parent, Greenbank, WA

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