Genomics & Bioinformatics Cluster, Dept. of Biology

Purple Patrol: Searching for Natural-Cavity Nesting Purple Martins

Orlando Wetlands Park photographs by Lucy Golebiewski and Brandon Lopez
The Eastern subspecies of purple martin (Progne subis subis) nest almost exclusively in human-constructed bird houses across the United States and Canada. The dependence of purple martins on artificial cavities have made their “landlords” an integral part of conservation efforts. But, it wasn’t always this way… Originally, purple martins nested in natural tree holes and cavities excavated by woodpeckers. However, the availability of suitable nesting sites has decreased with time as natural nesting habitat has been removed to make way for urbanization and development, and invasive species like the European starling have displaced native cavity nesters like purple martins. Interestingly, one of the last places where natural cavity use has been documented is right in our Central Florida backyard – the Orlando Wetlands Park!


As of Spring 2021, the UCF Purple Martin Project is teaming up with Dr. Jason Fischer and the Purple Martin Conservation Association to conduct regular surveys of potential nesting areas at the Orlando Wetlands for purple martin activity. But, to get this community-based science project off the ground, we need YOUR help! Participating is easy, especially if you are a regular birder at the Wetlands anyway.
Please complete this short questionnaire and someone from the UCF Purple Martin Project will contact you shortly!


For Patrol Protocol, Data Sheet, Route Maps, and Data Entry, visit the Purple Patrol Portal





Join our Facebook group: Purple Patrol to connect with other volunteers!


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Orlando Wetlands Park photographs by Lucy Golebiewski and Brandon Lopez