In 2019, Venice Area Audubon Society became Purple Martin landlords at Venice Audubon Rookery Park with the placement of two poles holding a total of 42 nest cavities. A third pole with 24 additional gourds was added in February 2023.
The Venice Rookery Park colony is registered with the Purple Martin Conservation Association’s Project MartinWatch, a long-standing citizen science effort to monitor the current status of Purple Martins amid growing challenges including climate change, habitat changes, and the impact of non-native species.
Utilizing PMCA’s Scout-Arrival Study web site to note the return of Purple Martins to south Florida from their winter home in South America, our volunteers begin watching for the arrival of Purple Martin “scouts” to the Rookery Park nesting colony in late January. Once birds are observed entering the nest cavities, monitoring begins. Nests are monitored every five days throughout the breeding season from approximately early February through mid-July. Detailed data is recorded and shared with PMCA’s Project MartinWatch at the conclusion of each season.
In addition to our contribution to Purple Martin research through active monitoring and data collection, our Venice project volunteers offer education and assistance to local residents and visitors who are interested in learning more about Purple Martins and establishing colonies in their local areas.
Sixty-three of 66 cavities were used for nests. Nesting pairs produced 418 eggs of which 328 hatched and 282 fledged during the 2023 breeding season.