Outdoors: Purple martins prepare for migration

7:26 PM, Aug 14, 2012   |    comments
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GREEN --  You can see a lot of different birds out at Nimisila Reservoir. Bald eagles, ospreys, even a peregrine falcon. But you can also see one of nature's wonders.

Puple martins, a member of the swallow family, use reed islands on the lake for nightly roosts. Larry Hunter from the Portage Lakes Purple Martin Association explains, "they are looking for a safe place to spend the night."

The flock which numbers anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 birds will use the resting place until they migrate to South America later this year.

The martins are credited for keeping insects in check in the Portage Lakes area where they nest during the summer breeding season. They now have 167 nesting pairs in the colony and expect that number to go up next year.

If you would like to see the birds up close, you can book a sightseeing trip with the PLPMA. The cost is $20 per person and the money goes for care for the bird's nesting poles and gourds. The PLPMA also gets help from over 200 volunteers including several local Boy Scout troops.

To book a trip, call Larry Hunter at 330-644-1540. For more information on the group, a 501-C-3 non-profit, or visit the Portage Lakes Purple Martin Association for more details.


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