PMCA Colony Update 2018: GPS Deployment

Twelve GPS data loggers were deployed on the backs of adult Purple Martins this month to collect data on their journey to the amazon rainforest and back.  These GPS data loggers will collect data five times throughout the day (every day) and can pinpoint the bird’s location as accurate as a few meters. In order to retrieve the data, the birds will need to be recaptured when they return next year and the device will be removed. Follow this YouTube link (Dance of the Migrating Martins) and watch the migration of 28 martins from data we collected in past years.

The tarsus length of a sub-adult female is measured and recorded.

Before being fitted with a GPS backpack, the birds are; weighed, banded and the tarsus length and wing chord are measured. The same measurements will be taken upon retrieval next year. To view this entire process, follow this YouTube link and watch the PMCA deploy a GPS tracker in the 2017 season: How to GPS tag a Purple Martin.

An adult female Purple Martin is fitted with a GPS backpack.
An adult male wearing a GPS backpack and ready to be released.

Today we banded our last group of nestlings for the season. Most of our cavities are now empty and the fledglings fly confidently with the adults when we visit our colonies.  Our three fledglings on the LiveCam could fledge any time in the coming days. Tune in now to see them before they leave the nest – Purple Martin NestCam 2018


PMCA Field Biologist