PurpleMartin2The Port of Vancouver USA’s mitigation bank is home to a wide variety of bird species. One species the port hopes to see in increasing numbers is the purple martin

Purple martins are popular among bird watchers and enthusiasts in the Pacific Northwest. The birds spend the majority of their time in North America before traveling south to the Amazon basin in winter.

In 2011, the port installed two dozen gourds – the preferred homes for these uniquely colored birds – in its wetland mitigation site on Northwest Lower River Road. Unfortunately, purple martins aren’t the only species enjoying these luxury residences; their relatives in the swallow family have taken over many of the gourds, making nesting and colony establishment more difficult.

Environmental Project Manager Matt Harding, in partnership with US Fish and Wildlife Service and Friends of Stiegerwald Wildlife Refuge’s volunteer bird experts, recently evaluated the current structures and made a plan to improve and maintain purple martin habitat at the bank.

Next spring, 24 new gourds will be installed designed specifically for the purple martin species. The gourds will be properly sized and placed to ensure the species will colonize and flourish in the area.

The Port of Vancouver USA has a unique location that’s home to many species of wildlife. Our team is dedicated to ensuring diverse species have access to quality habitat so they can continue to thrive.