Purple Monster? No! Purple Martins!

Usually, on this site, PM stands for Purple Monster, our Christmas heroine. But today, PM stands for purple martins (Progne subis), those broad-chested swallows that do aerial acrobatics to catch insects. There is only one sanctuary nesting colony in New York City where you can see purple martins: Lemon Creek Park on Staten Island. The purple martins are very welcome there, with high-rise apartments and gourd single-family dwellings. I visited on June 20, traveling on the Staten Island Ferry and the Staten Island Railroad. 

  Purple martin, Lemon Creek Park, Staten Island, June 20

Purple martin, Lemon Creek Park, Staten Island, June 20

The Filming the Feathers video shows the purple martins at their nests and on a phone line. You'll notice some wooden decoy purple martins in the video and in a photo below. Purple martins love to be in flocks, and the wooden birds welcome visiting swallows to the neighborhood. On the day I visited, I also saw starlings and house sparrows taking up residence in the condominiums.

The first photo below shows one of the wooden decoys. The rest are resident purple martins. All photos were taken June 20.