Dow's Bird Photos

July 21, 2020

My last report on the Purple Martin Colony at 3 Crabs was just over two years ago (See Purple Martin Nests). Shortly after that the old creosote-covered pilings that supported the 18 nest boxes were removed, and replaced by three steel pilings. For details on that process see (forthcoming).

Today, Ken, Bob, Laura and I checked the nest boxes to get a count on eggs and chicks. Fourteen of the boxes had active nests, with at least 51 chicks and still two unhatched eggs. Four of the boxes were either bare or had partial nests. Below are pictures of the fourteen nests with chicks. Each piling has two stacks of three nest boxes. The boxes in the first stack on the first piling are labeled, from top to bottom, 1A, 1B, 1C. The second stack is labeled 2A, 2B and 2C, etc.


Checking boxs on 7/21/2020 Checking boxs on 6/26/2020

Checking nest boxes on 7/21/2020 and 6/26/2020. Photos by Laura Davis



Box 1A Box 1B

Boxes 1A and 1B, 3 Crabs Colony, 7/21/2020



Box 1C Box 2A

Boxes 1C and 2A, 3 Crabs Colony, 7/21/2020



Box 2B Box 2C

Boxes 2B and 2C, 3 Crabs Colony, 7/21/2020



Box 3A Box 3B

Boxes 3A and 3B, 3 Crabs Colony, 7/21/2020



Box 3C Box 4A

Boxes 3C and 4A, 3 Crabs Colony, 7/21/2020



Box 4B Box 4C

Boxes 4B and 4C, 3 Crabs Colony, 7/21/2020



Box 5B Box 6A

Boxes 5B and 6A, 3 Crabs Colony, 7/21/2020


Bird of the Day


Purple Martins

July 7, 2018

In 2005 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service invited the Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society to expand our Purple Martin colony at 3 Crabs by adding nest boxes on Protection Island. The island is a National Wildlife Refuge and there are stringent restrictions on access to the island, so OPAS was delighted to accept this rare invitation. (Please do not attempt to go to Protection Island to look for Purple Martins. You can see them much more easily at the 3 Crabs location.) We now have six nest boxes on the island. I became a Refuge volunteer in 2009 so that I could assist in maintaining the Protection Island colony. The Refuge staff provide transportation for 2-3 volunteers several times a year to put up the boxes in late April, check them 2-3 times durig the nesting season, and take them down to store after the birds have started their return migration to South America.

For more information, see : Purple Martin Nest Box Study,

This year Laura, Alan and I put up the six nest boxes on Protection Island on April 25th, a couple weeks later than normal. Within minutes, we had Purple Martins landing on the boxes. Today Ken and I hitched a ride to the island with Refuge staff to check the boxes. Five of the six boxes had five eggs each. Only Box 3 had no eggs, but it had a dozen fresh green leaves lining the nest, and after we checked that box a female entered and spent at least ten minutes inside. We rather suspect she layed her first egg during that time. So this promises to be an excellent nesting season for the Protection Island colony.


Purple Martin nest/eggs

Purple Martin Box 1 at Protection Island, WA, 7/6/2018


Purple Martin nest/eggs

Purple Martin Box 2 at Protection Island, WA, 7/6/2018


Purple Martin nest/eggs

Purple Martin Box 3 at Protection Island, WA, 7/6/2018


Purple Martin nest/eggs

Purple Martin Box 4 at Protection Island, WA, 7/6/2018


Purple Martin nest/eggs

Purple Martin Box 5 at Protection Island, WA, 7/6/2018


Purple Martin nest/eggs

Purple Martin Box 6 at Protection Island, WA, 7/6/2018