Purple Martin2005

Purple Martin2005

Summary:

Worldwide Species Action Plans

Purple Martin action planPurple martins (Progne subis) are classified as G5, or globally secure, by the Nature Conservancy, and aside from some areas where local populations have declined or are threatened (Pacific Northwest, Great Lakes), there does not appear to be any imminent threat to martin populations. The situation in the Rocky Mountains, however, is not easy to assess. Recent studies have confirmed widespread nesting in western Colorado, but with a total estimated population size of only 500 to 1000 individuals. Limited survey work in southern Wyoming in 2004 resulted in the discovery of at least one colony. This colony, located on the Medicine Bow National Forest, is the first known nesting in the state since the 1930s. Purple martins are relatively rare breeders in the Intermountain West, and local populations may thus be particularly susceptible to forest management practices that affect their primary breeding habitat, mature aspen (Populus spp.) stands. A lack of information on the ecology and life history of purple martins in mountainous areas hinders our ability to develop a regional conservation strategy. The preferred habitat of purple martins in the Rocky Mountains is mature aspen forest with nearby meadows and open water. Martins nest in cavities in live aspen trees, which are currently not heavily harvested on National Forest System lands. However, there is some indication that aspen recruitment is low, primarily due to a lack of disturbance. The general rule of fire suppression on public lands has likely had a negative impact on purple martins by reducing the generation of new (post-disturbance) aspen stands, and by allowing encroachment of conifers into the open habitats preferred by foraging martins. Another key habitat component for purple martins is meadows, especially those with areas of open water. Such habitats may be degraded by forest management practices (e.g., road-building, timber harvesting) that alter the quality and distribution of water.


  1. Progne subis arboricola
  2. Progne subis hesperia
  3. Progne subis subis
  4. Progne subis
  5. NA, MA widespread


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