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Purple Martins return

In a sure sign of spring, the first Purple Martins of the year have been seen in Virginia.

The birds were seen on Feb. 23 in the Nelson County community of Gladstone by a Purple Martin enthusiast—one of many throughout the eastern and central United States who track and report on the birds’ annual migration on behalf of the Purple Martin Conservation Association. The migration of these birds can be reported and tracked through a community science project called the Scout-Arrival Study.

“The first Purple Martin arrivals of the season are always an exciting event,” said Joe Siegrist, president of the Purple Martin Conservation Association. “Tracking the migration is not only fun, it also provides us with valuable information that helps inform our research and strengthen our efforts to make sure we’re doing everything possible to sustain the population of these amazing birds.”

North America’s largest species of swallow, Purple Martins winter in the rainforests of Brazil before m...

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