As Purple Martin landlords, we all strive to attract and raise as many martins as we can, our motives as varied as our own personalities. But is there a way we can each improve our efforts to increase the overall martin population? The answer is an emphatic "YES!"
Let's say we each attract 10 breeding pairs of Purple Martins, which fledge a total of 25 young, on average, each year. At the end of 10 breeding seasons how many fledgling martins has our colony site added to the world's martin population? The answer is 250. Pretty good, but when you consider that only about 35% of those 250 fledglings (or about 88 birds) live to see their first breeding season, our decade of effort is far less impressive.
But look at what happens to fledgling numbers if we each make it a standard part of our annual martin routine to mentor along one new landlord hobbyist who in turn fledges 25 young annually. At the end of 10 years, instead of just 250 fledglings, we and our 10 mentees would have been responsible for fledgling a staggering 1625 martins! But it gets even better. If each of our mentees in turn becomes a mentor the following season, we get into the mathematical realm of chain letters and pyramid schemes, and the number of fledglings at the end of 10 years becomes astronomical!
So, how do we find someone to mentor? The PMCA has provided the map to keep track of those looking for mentors and those looking for mentees. If you fall into either of these categories, click here to login to your account. Once you've logged in you can click on the Mentor Program Participation Form link on the right side and fill in your information.
Click on your state or province here to see the prospective mentors and mentees in your area. Agreeing to become a mentor doesn't necessarily mean that large amounts of time will be required. Sometimes a few wise words from a life of experience can be worth years of trial and error.
Once you find the person to mentor, help them get started on the right foot either through emails or visits to their and your colony site. Assist them in choosing the right housing, or in modifying their existing housing. Help them to set it up. Show them how to control nest-site competitors. Introduce them to the power of dawnsong. Instruct them in the art of doing nest checks and nest replacements. Get them involved in Project Martinwatch. Buy them a gift membership in the PMCA so they will receive the Purple Martin Update, or loan them your back issues. Help them avoid all the mistakes you made when you were first getting started. Do as much as you can to help them succeed in becoming a martin landlord.
Mentoring martin enthusiasts will benefit you, the landlords you help, and the local martin population. Besides the satisfaction you'll feel at being able to help others (both human and avian), you'll discover that mentoring future landlords allows you to once again experience the excitement and joy of starting a new colony. Perhaps the most precious reward mentoring brings, however, is the lifelong friendships you'll make. Being a martin mentor builds human connections that add to everyone's quality of life. It's a win-win situation for all.