Families huddled in the cold and windy outdoors (right) Saturday outside The Heritage Trail Conservancy office to learn about purple martins and their houses on poles. The conservancy has two poles with houses for purple martin nests, but so far has attracted only one male who hung around during the presentation.
One of the multifamily units was lowered so the children could see what one of the units looks like if a sparrow moves in — a dirty nest built partly from litter-like cigarette butts and pieces of paper. Sparrows are enemies of purple martins and will get into the nests and kill the baby birds or destroy the eggs. Apart from the purple martin condos are a sparrow birdhouse and a bluebird house to encourage those birds to nest there instead of in the pods intended for purple martins, which will leave the area if there are squatters. Starlings also are aggressive toward purple martins, but the martin houses at the Heritage Trail are designed so starlings cannot get inside.
At the end of the “Caring for the Birds” program, the children received a surprise — brightly colored toy purple martins and bluebirds, which when squeezed played the bird’s song.
The workshop was sponsored by Burris Electric & Plumbing Supply Inc., Bulk Truck & Transport Service Inc., dentist David Butler, Friendship State Bank, Horst’s Little Bakery Haus and Lytle Funeral Homes & Cremation Service.
Photos by Sean Miller & Peggy Vlerebome