Purple Martin Nests and Babies!

Adult Male Purple Martin Looking Out Nesting Gourd Entrance Hole (note iridescent purple feathers)

Adult Male Purple Martin Looking Out Nesting Gourd Entrance Hole (note iridescent purple feathers)

Hungry Babies

Hungry Babies

Baby Ready to be Fed - Still Partially in Shell!

Baby Ready to be Fed – Still Partially in Shell!

Hatchling Hug

Hatchling Hug

Looking through Gourd’s Entrance Hole (love the “lips”)

Looking through Gourd’s Entrance Hole (love the “lips”)

Leaf-Lined Nest Containing 5 Eggs

Leaf-Lined Nest Containing 5 Eggs

Leaf and Bark-Lined Nest Containing 5 Eggs

Leaf and Bark-Lined Nest Containing 5 Eggs

Leaf and Cedar Chip Nest Containing 5 Eggs

Leaf and Cedar Chip Nest Containing 5 Eggs

Cedar Chip Nest Containing 3 Eggs (probably a first-time nester)

Cedar Chip Nest Containing 3 Eggs (probably a first-time nester)

Frog on Nesting Gourd

Frog on Nesting Gourd

Silhouette of Purple Martin Gourd Rack and Sky:  All Tucked-In for Night (click to enlarge for details)

Silhouette of Purple Martin Gourd Rack and Sky: All Tucked-In for Night (click to enlarge for details)

Last weekend we did a nest check of our two purple martin gourd racks.  So far we have a total of 11 nests containing 49 babies and eggs!  There are also 4 more early nests that may or may not progress on to eggs within the next 2 weeks.  One nest contained a baby that wriggled out of its egg as we watched.  The baby even opened its mouth to be fed while it was still partially in the shell!  The birds seem to have their own individual nest styles. Some martin parents gather lots of leaves, some add hard red bark to the nest, and others simply lay eggs on the cedar chips provided as a base.  Each nest usually contains 3-6 eggs.  Love this time of year!  If you would like to host your own purple martins, more info is at:  https://www.purplemartin.org/education/75/getting-started/.

About Pam
Richard and Pam lived in the San Francisco Bay Area 14 years (1987-1999 and 2008-2011). They lived in Florida 13 years previously, until returning in July 2011 to present. They hope their photography will encourage you to get out and discover nature's beauty in your own backyard, parks, and wild places. Click on any pictures on this blog to see them full size with additional details.

15 Responses to Purple Martin Nests and Babies!

  1. Amazing! Curious… is the frog at all a threat?

  2. The size of their eyes is amazing!

    • Pam says:

      Yes their heads seem to be all eyes and mouth! They are the cheeriest birds to have around – singing all the time. We’ll miss them when they leave to spend the other half of the year in Brazil.

  3. reocochran says:

    While in my 20’s and young mother and wife, we had a purple martin house. We only cleaned it the first year. Although my name is a bird’s name, I was taking care of a large yard, two toddlers and garden, Pam.
    I am very excited about your 49 hatchlings! Your night photo looks like a painting!

    • Pam says:

      Thank you! I can’t imagine you doing as much as you did – two toddlers alone seems like it would have been more than enough to keep you occupied! I am so happy you like the night photo. It was a magical scene.

  4. Awesome captures, Pam! Some sweet shots! Love the frog ‘hanging’ out too!

  5. Ingrid says:

    Excellent – wonderful photos!

  6. Wow!! Spectacular sight to see. “Gourd racks” ….. Never knew that was the name of those unusual multi level, odd shaped ‘bird houses’ that I often see in our preserves!

    • Pam says:

      We are landlords for our purple martin babies. 🙂
      It’s a passion – you always think that maybe there is room for one more rack. I know I do! Next November putting another one up…..

  7. timfotos says:

    Amazing color Pam

    • Pam says:

      We enjoy having purple martins in our yard for half of the year. Last week we saw them for the last time until February. They are on their way back to Brazil.

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