Purple Martin Conservation Association located a colony landlord for me, who graciously allowed me free access to the colony, gave me the opportunity to participate in a nest check, even loaned me a ladder for a better view, all in a perfect location for uninterrupted observation.
So if you haven't had a chance to spend time with martins, you are in for a treat. The only thing lacking is the vocals. A very chatty species! Below you will see a series of images of a female trying to add a twig to her nest. Her determination was astounding. I didn't count how many times she tried before she actually succeeded, nor do I know whether her success was a learning process or just accidental trial and error, but she was no slacker in persistence. And whether her mate, or a neighbor, her efforts caught interest and comment from the male perched beside her. Also notice the beautiful blue sheen of sunlight on his feathers. (click on images to enlarge)
She was one of many birds going about this challenging activity. Both males and females were flying in with mouths full of nesting materials, all sizes and description. I'll show you more about this in my next post.
To see more of my sketches and the painting's progression visit: Purple Martins at Vickie's Sketchbook.
To learn more about purple martins, visit: The Purple Martin Conservation Association
For a visual comparison between the plumage of males and females and younger birds visit; Chuck's Purple Martin Page