Surveying the grounds for nest box locations

On a chilly spring day in March, the Central Ohio chapter of the Ohio Young Birders Club visited Scioto Audubon Metro Park. Our goal was to set up ‘apartments’ for Purple Martins to breed in.

We gathered outside around the Grange Insurance Audubon Center to construct the boxes. Our advisors gave a short introduction to the life history of Martins and their breeding behaviors. Afterwards, we built boxes out of gourds. On the inside we placed a thick layer of pine needles to encourage the birds to nest. A tubular opening was fit on the front of the box to protect the Martins from the weather as well as other birds. Finally, each young birder’s box then received a designated number.

Surveying the grounds for nest box locations The OYBC group assembles gourd houses OYBC advisor Darlene Sillick explains instructions for preparing the gourd houses


Once all the boxes were finished, the young birders carried their boxes below the Center to a grassland habitat suitable for Purple Martins. Close by to the apartment sight were three small ponds and enough open space to support foraging Martins. With the help of our advisors, we set up a pulley rigging system that would allow us to raise and lower the sets of gourds. Once the boxes were tightly secured, the rig was then raised to a height of about ten feet.

After final adjustments, we had reached our accomplishment. Hopefully, a colony of Purple Martins will find a home here come spring. Together, the young birders helped support the well-loved Purple Martin.

The Purple Martin nest boxes rise!

Bird species recorded for the day:

Downy Woodpecker
American Robin
Herring Gull
Northern Mockingbird
Turkey Vulture
Red-winged Blackbird
Mourning Dove
Tree Swallow
Rock Pigeon (Feral)
Red-tailed Hawk
Double-crested Cormorant
Song Sparrow
House Sparrow
American Crow

Anna Rose is a student member of the Central Ohio Chapter of the Ohio Young Birders Club