Along the north bank of Lake Arnold at Blandy Experimental Farm, you’ll notice the Shenandoah Audubon Purple Martin Sanctuary tucked neatly into the landscape. A total of 96 gleaming white gourds dots the landscape at this colonial nesting site for our delightful migratory birds, the Purple Martins (Progne subis), and abbreviated as PUMA, which belong in the family of swallows, Hirundinidae.
Since 2012, Shenandoah Audubon has worked diligently to replace old broken and worn-out PUMA nesting structures and to install and maintain the current nesting habitat. Once abundant in its range, PUMA now depend almost entirely on man-made housing. PUMA arrive locally starting around first of April from their wintering roosts, nice warm places, like Manaus, Brazil, deep in the Amazon. They return to their northern range each year to breed and raise their young where
they find an abundance of insects. They return to South America again, for the winter, usually having all disappeared from our airways by end of August.
To track the spring migration, visit this website: www.purplemartin.org/research/8/scout-arrival-
study. To hear lively and boisterous chattering, rattling and to observe PUMA performing their aerial acrobatics up close and personal, enjoy some time near the sanctuary at Blandy this season.
Please partner with Shenandoah Audubon and help support Purple Martin Conservation by adopting a gourd. Your sponsorship will go directly towards maintenance and upkeep of your local Sanctuary and is tax deductible.
Your sponsorship of $25 per gourd for the 2023 season includes:
• An Official Adoption Certificate;
• A 4x6-in. full-color photograph taken at the Sanctuary and signed by the photographer, Ms. Sharon Fisher.
• A free Educational Guide published by the Purple Martin Conservation Association “Identify, Attract & Manage Purple Martins.”
• A mail-in, return postcard, which entitles you to a FREE Trial Membership to the Purple Martin Conservation Association (offer valid
for new PMCA members only).
• End-of-season report (October of each year) on whether your gourd was utilized for shelter, utilized for nesting, remained empty, contained unhatched eggs, deceased chicks, adults or other at time of clean-out. We currently do not collect data on specific number of nesting pairs or number of chicks fledged. You are welcome to observe the colony during Arboretum hours.
Adoptions made by April 15 of the current year will receive reports in October; adoptions made from April 16 onwards will receive reports from the next years’ breeding season.
Please click the file below to access the adoption form.