Learn how to help purple martins at Busch Conservation Area March 2

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ST. CHARLES, Mo. — Purple martins are being threatened by avian invaders, and the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) wants to help you give them a fighting chance.

It’s Purple Martin Time is a free program presented by MDC Saturday, March 2 from 9:30-11 a.m. at the August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area in St. Charles. The timing is perfect since purple martins arrive here from South America, where they overwinter, around the beginning of March to begin nesting.

These beautiful, fast-flying members of the swallow family are native Missouri nesters, where they almost exclusively rely on nesting boxes to breed in the Show-Me State. But they are being threatened by invasive birds like non-native starlings and house sparrows. These invaders compete with purple martins for nesting space and sometimes even push out or kill martins.

This program is for ages 12 and up and will teach participants about purple martins, and how they can help conserve the birds by creating colonies in their own back yards. Creating more places for purple martins to live is one of the best ways to give them an extra chance against invasive birds. The program also includes a trip outside to see a real purple martin house at the Busch Conservation Area’s visitor center.

It’s Purple Martin Time is free, but advanced online registration is required by going to https://bit.ly/2GI8MR7.

The August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area is located at 2360 Highway D in St. Charles, about two miles west of Highway 94.