Purple Martin

Last updated on November 15, 2021

Purple Martins (Progne subisnest in groups, in tree cavities along the shoreline. By the 1980s, the number of natural Purple Martin nesting spots in British Columbia had dwindled to less than ten. These declines were mainly due to competition from non-native bird species, and to housing and other development in nesting areas.

During this time, the species was almost lost in B.C., but through collaborative recovery efforts over the last 30 years, Purple Martins are now assessed at a lower level of conservation concern, being blue-listed by the BC Conservation Data Center.

A volunteer artificial nest box program started in 1986 and has provided the platforms for almost all B.C. Purple Martin nests today. There are now over 1200 nesting pairs and 120 active colonies on B.C.’s lower mainland and on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island.

Program partners

The program has had many collaborators over the years, including:

Purple Martin's recovery in B.C. is a success story and continues to be because of the efforts of many recovery partners, funders, and volunteers.