purple-martin-sqWith support from local community grants, the GWI initiated a nest box program in 2007 to encourage the re-establishment of nesting colonies of Purple Martin (Progne subis) along the Gorge Waterway and Portage Inlet. This member of the swallow family is a blue-listed species in BC due to its small population size, its historical decline in numbers and range and continuing loss of its nesting habitat.

Waterfront residents at suitable sites along the waterway were contacted about being “landlords” for Purple Martin nest boxes. GWI provided homeowners with nest boxes, helped with installation and provided training for annual nest box maintenance. In total, 20 nest boxes were installed at five locations along the Gorge, as well as several in Esquimalt Harbour. In 2009, five pairs of Purple Martins successfully fledged 13 young from the nest boxes. The project was completed in 2010, and nest box landlords continue to monitor Purple Martin activity at their sites.