June 29, 2020

Purple Martin Recovery Program

Western purple martins are a subspecies of purple martin that migrate from Western Brazil to the west coast of the US and southwestern coastal BC to nest each summer. Their population on the coast once numbered more than 1,000 breeding pairs but by the mid-1980’s, only a few breeding pairs survived. The Purple Martin Stewardship and Recovery Program (PMSRP) is one of the groups implementing a research based plan for the recovery of the species. It’s working and Ralmax is a part of it.

Ralmax initially connected with the PMSRP when Ian Maxwell decided he was ready to build a purple martin colony to add to Ralmax’s osprey and eagle habitat initiatives. A great collaborative project began with the valuable assistance of our Facilities Management Coordinator at Ralmax Properties. We also received incredible support from local businesses and friends who readily stepped up to provide their expertise, as well as virtually all the required materials and services. We all learned so much and enjoyed this opportunity to contribute to their efforts to restore the purple martin population on Victoria Harbour.

The nesting boxes were built to strict specifications from western red cedar, with galvalume roof covers, aluminum doors and aluminum identification plates. To reduce strain following the martins' 10,000-kilometer return flight from Brazil, each box was pre-loaded with nesting materials. Installation was completed from a timber float by Salish Sea Industrial Services.

You can see the 20 completed nesting boxes next to Ralmax Group’s David Street barging facility at 2800 Bridge St. A great vantage point is from the boardwalk off of Jutland Rd.

Thanks to community efforts like this one, it is believed that the population of purple martins is once again nearing 1,000 breeding pairs.

by Laurence A. (Laurie) Campbell, General Superintendent, Ralmax Properties Ltd. (edited for length)

 

Contributors:

Coast City Construction Ltd.

Emery Electric Ltd.

Great White Cladding and Decking Ltd.

Home Lumber and Building Supplies

Jawl Family

Purple Martin Stewardship and Recovery Program

Point Hope Maritime

Ralmax Properties

Rim Plastering and Stucco

Salish Sea Industrial Services

Tri- City Finishing Ltd.

Victoria Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary

Private donors