Friday, July 15, 2011

Watch for color banded Purple Martins!

One week ago today the Connecticut Audubon Society teamed up with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to band all of Gazebo Phil's ( Purple Martin chicks. The Department of Environmental Protection was recently merged with the Department of Utility Control resulting in that new agency now referred to as the DEEP or CT DEEP. DEEP staff and their volunteers along with CAS staff formed an assembly line of sorts to take the chicks out of their gourds, band them, age them, weigh them, and return them to their homes. We banded 185 (!) Purple Martin chicks in just over 3 hours, and you may have seen the HD video of the event here:

Each of these young birds was banded with a silver federal band and a special Connecticut color band. CT DEEP's Geoffrey Krukar has banded Purple Martin chicks with these color bands at six of the largest colonies in Connecticut this year. Two were in Kent (purple and yellow), one was in Clinton (blue), two at Hammonasset State Park (green and orange), and Gazebo Phil's (red). His intention is to band the same locations with the same colors again next year. Something will be up on the DEEP website soon to report sightings of color banded individuals. You can email me (skruitbosch 'at' with sightings and I will pass them along, too. As always, more information is better. If you see a color banded martin and only get the color that's great, and we would love to have the details of your sighting. If you can read the numbers from the color band this will help even more.

 Silver federal band on the left, red CT color band on the right. Photo by CAS Conservation Biologist Twan Leenders.

The DEEP's color banding project was funded by the Connecticut Endangered Species/Wildlife Tax Check-off Fund. CT DEEP hopes to secure future funding for more banding work such as this through that fund. I cannot wait to see how many of these birds are spotted here in Connecticut and further south. Thanks to CT DEEP and their staff/volunteers and to all of you in advance for your sightings and continued support.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation Technician

Photo © Twan Leenders

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