Pantex wildlife biologist Jim Ray will be teaming up with York University researcher Dr. Kevin Fraser from Toronto this weekend to help study the movements and behaviors of Purple Martins.
Ray, Fraser and several volunteers will be capturing the Martins, which are the largest member of the swallow family in North America, and affixing small geolocator tracking devices to help expand scientific knowledge about the birds. The geolocators were provided by the Department of Energy and Pantex in connection with a Presidential directive to help study and preserve migratory birds.
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Pantex Wildlife Biologist Jim Ray prepares to release a Purple Martin after it was captured and fitted with a tiny geolocator tracking device this weekend. Ray teamed up with Dr. Kevin Fraser from York University in Toronto to study the Martins, which were captured in birdhouses Ray maintains at his home.
Ray said Purple Martins have been popular among bird watchers since early settlers found Native Americans creating living quarters for the birds in hollowed-out gourds. Providing birdhouses has been a popular pastime for birders ever since. However, the birds are in decline in some areas of the United States, which makes preserving them an important effort.