ROSS ARMOUR / DAILY NEWS
JULY 20, 2015 12:00 AM
There's a certain bird species present on Vancouver Island that has shown a significant rise in population and prominence in recent times.
Back in 1985 and near extinction, there were only five breeding pairs of the Purple Martin present throughout the whole of B.C. Now, there's more than 1,000 in the Nanaimo region alone. Part of that is due to the ongoing efforts of the B.C. Purple Martin Recovery Program, orchestrated by the Georgia Basin Ecological Assessment and Restoration Society based in Nanaimo. The non-profit society is dedicated to the protection of species and ecosystems that are at risk within the Georgia Basin.
Director/administrator Charlene Lee says providing enough nesting sites and boxes is key to the survival and prosperity of the Purple Martin.
"Historically, Purple Martins have nested in burned areas with freshwater, so we live where Purple Martins used to live," said Lee. "Also, when we have a good year like this with lots of warm weather, there are more flying insects for them to feed on and so they produce more young."
Since 1985, the society and other biologists have gradually increased the number of nesting boxes over time. Lee said that there was an observation in 1985 where a group of Purple Martins were found living in rock pilings in Cowichan Bay, as well as parts of Victoria.