Lying on the gently rolling, grass-covered slope just north of Lake Arnold at Blandy Experimental Farm, Shenandoah Audubon hosts the Purple Martin Colony Project to provide suitable nesting habitat and to educate the public about Purple Martins. This nesting colony site is home to North America’s largest swallow, the Purple Martin (Progne subis), generally referred to by birders as “PUMA” (the Institute for Bird Population's alpha code). Being neotropical migratory birds, cavity-nesting Martins return each spring to this location around mid-April from South America to build their nests and raise their young. The older Martins are first to return to their previous nesting sites, followed several weeks later by individuals that hatched the year before and are making their first trip back. Shenandoah Audubon funds and maintains the Purple Martin Colony through gifts from Chapter members and private citizens as well as an annual donation from The National Audubon Society. The colony is currently maintained by PUMA Landlords Mr. Ted Saunders and Ms. Kaycee Lichliter.
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