The purple martin colony at the Ladysmith Maritime Society marina is the largest on Vancouver Island.

The purple martin colony at the Ladysmith Maritime Society marina is the largest on Vancouver Island.

Open house at LMS marina celebrates purple martins

BC Purple Martin Stewardship and Recovery Program at its eleventh annual open house at the LMS marina from July 12, 2 - 4 p.m

Wear something purple July 12 and join the BC Purple Martin Stewardship and Recovery Program at its eleventh annual open house at the Ladysmith Maritime Society marina from 2 – 4 p.m. to celebrate.

Although they remain a species at risk in BC, the purple martin population has increased from a low of five breeding pairs in 1985 to over a 1,000 nesting pairs in 2014, mainly as a result of nest boxes built, installed and maintained by volunteers.

There has been a good return of adult birds again this year and a low return of one-year olds, as expected. There were two periods of cool wet weather last summer that resulted in a lower number of young in 2014.

“Although the final count for 2015 is not yet available, there has been an exceptional return of two and three year old birds this year,” said Program Biologist, Bruce Cousens with the recovery program.

“Many Central Island colonies are again fully or almost fully occupied. This is very exciting to see”

The martin colony at the LMS marina is the largest on Vancouver Island and is expecting about 80 pairs again this year.

Visitors will be able to watch adults feeding nestlings, learn more about the conservation of purple martins at displays and hear stories about purple martins’ activities around the Strait of Georgia. Martin nestlings will be banded at a session scheduled for 3 p.m.

“Light refreshments and our famous purple (blueberry) milkshakes will be served while quantities last,” said Charlene Lee, Georgia Basin Ecological Assessment and Restoration Society administrator.

To join in the fun, head for Ladysmith, follow the yellow signs to the marina and park in the upper lot. “Don’t forget to wear something purple and come join in the fun,” Lee said.