We have had a couple of recent returns on the color banded Purple Martins from Gazebo Phil's two gourd trees. One of these was a martin at Greenwich Point Park that CT DEEP told us about during this year's banding session. However, another was even closer to our home as later that very day the banding team found a female nesting at the Coastal Center at Milford Point! I took this photo last week right before sunset, and while it is dark and heavily cropped, you can clearly see the silver federal band and the red Connecticut color band signifying that it came from Gazebo Phil's. I could read the "CT" on this band, but not the number itself.
These birds were banded last year by CT DEEP and CAS. They made the long journey to South America and came back to sites we would expect - nearby areas that have relatively new housing for martins, allowing young and first-year birds like these to take up residence instead of being beaten to the punch by older adults who return weeks earlier in the spring season in order to stake out the best nesting sites or reclaim their home from the previous year. With the number of color banded martins across the state now reaching four digits, we can expect more to be seen here in Connecticut and to our south. Please take an especially careful look at any Purple Martins you see as they begin to shift around and trickle to the south ahead of their August exodus.
Photo © Scott Kruitbosch and not to be reproduced without explicit permission