Welcome to the Purple Martin Conservation
Association's 2015 scout-arrival page. At this site, we collect and
disseminate Purple Martin migration reports from all across North America.
On the map above you can see (in purple) the migration of the adult
(ASY) martins up through the United States and into Canada. In yellow,
you can see the migration of the subadult (SY-M) male Purple Martin
later on in the season. Clicking on a particular region of the map will
take you to a geographic-specific account of the martin migration.
Previous years' scout pages:
Animated scout maps:
The purple areas in the background show the breeding range of the Purple Martin.
Red arrows show the theorized migratory routes taken by Purple Martins.
Colored sections mark the average first-arrival dates of adult
martins (also called "scouts") at long-established breeding sites. For example, there is a 95% likelihood that a martin spotted in the light blue section was reported arriving around February 1st.
Subadult martins (those in their first breeding year) return to North America
about 3-6 weeks after those dates shown above. If you are starting a new colony,
do not open your martin housing until 3-6 weeks after the first adult martins
arrive in your area. Check the Arrival-Map above for specific reports.
The PMCA's Scout
Arrival Study by James R. Hill, III
Purple Martin Update - Volume 9(3)
This document requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.
TO REPORT YOUR SCOUT-ARRIVAL DATA:
Please complete the
online form provided. Be sure to include the date and location
of your sighting. The PMCA will gather and post dates throughout
the entire 5-month migration period of the Purple Martin and
will update the map each workday. Each reporter may choose whether
or not to display their report on the detail pages.
Please note: The dates shown on individual scout
pages are for active colony sites. If you are trying to attract
martins to a new site, note the scout-arrival date for your
area and do not open your housing until three-six weeks after
that date. New sites are typically colonized by yearling (subadult)
martins. Their arrival period begins approximately 30 days after
the first scouts arrive and continues until late May, early
June. Also note: we are interested in all arrival dates, even
if an earlier report exists for your community. We
ask that everyone be honest. This is scientific data collection,
not a contest.
SCOUT PAGE UPDATES:
The state pages are updated automatically each time a reporter
chooses to have their data displayed. The only information displayed online is
name (optional), city, state, and any scout dates. If a reporter reports two adult
dates (one for their colony and one for another colony in same city), both reports
will be displayed.
The scout maps are manually updated once each workday. When making
the map, all reports will be accepted as received. These are not necessarily
accurate reports. Please let us
know if your report is not displayed on the map. Exceptional reports will be
reviewed and, if necessary, verified prior to being mapped.
Regarding the first adult male or female
martins you saw this year, please tell us what they were doing
(i.e., foraging out over water, perched on the martin housing,
flying overhead, etc.), how many there were, whether you heard
them give their familiar Purple
Martin vocalization (a pleasant gurgling chortle), whether
they stayed overnight or kept migrating, how many years you have
been hosting Purple Martins at this site, and how many pairs bred
at your site last year.
Be absolutely sure the birds you saw were not
Tree Swallows, Barn
grackles, or European
Starlings. Tree swallows have pure white bellies and are
1/2 the size of Purple Martins. Purple Martins have short black
beaks and are either all-black (adult males) or have gray undersides
with darker backs (females and subadult males). Starlings have
long yellow beaks and a vocalization that is an intense squeal.
Barn Swallows have orange bellies and long forked tails. Grackles
and cowbirds are iridescent purple like martins, but they frequent
seed feeders and walk through the grass; Purple Martins don't.
Also, northward migrating martins travel alone,
or in very small, loose, groups of 2 or 3 individuals. If you
are seeing flocks of dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of
birds, they aren't Purple Martins. If the first "martins"
back at your site immediately start to clean old nesting material
out of the housing, THEY ARE NOT MARTINS - they are probably
starlings. Martins do not begin nest building until about 4
weeks after the earliest ones return. Also, if the birds you
see are more than two weeks earlier than the average first-arrival
dates shown on the migration-timing map displayed at this web
site, it's very unlikely they are Purple Martins.
© 2015 Purple Martin Conservation Association All Rights Reserved.