Some Glen Mills students recently had the unique opportunity to be involved in the intricate hands-on process of purple martin bird banding.
“It was really neat to learn about the purple martins and learn about banding,” Jackson Hall student Jeremiah Porter said. “That was a lot of fun and it was very interesting.”
Under the guidance of local volunteer bander Doris McGovern and Glen Mills staff members Don McNeal, James Jackson, and Jamie Pugliese, students participated in the banding of the coveted bird to track its migration patterns. After arriving in the region in April, the birds migrate to South America in August. Acrobatic flyers, the purple martins are fun to watch and they help control the insect population in areas they inhabit. A total of 185 purple martins were banded.
McGovern was pleased to report on their healthy condition.
“The babies we handled were positively plump,” McGovern said.
Aveyon Cummings, Colin Lambright, Jeremiah Porter, James Dantzler, Kyle Robinson, Michael Sweat, and others enjoyed being a part of the process on Thursday, July 13th.
The meticulously cared for purple martin colony is a focal point in the center of the Glen Mills campus and is recognized as one of the top colonies in the mid-Atlantic. The colony features traditional purple martin houses and gourd type houses as well.
“We like to keep track of the purple martins that were born on the Glen Mills campus,” Jackson said. “With some of them, their migration patterns even bring them back to Glen Mills.
Jackson liked the fact that student helpers enjoyed the process.
“The students really enjoyed themselves as they learned about this fascinating bird,” Jackson said. “The hands-on experience of handing a baby bird is something they will remember for a lifetime.”
PHOTO: Michael Sweat was just one of the students who had the opportunity to help with the banding of the purple martins.
Editor’s Note: Battling Bulletin student writer Evan Thomas contributed to this article.