City of Richmond approves my Purple Martin nest box project !

After a long wait with time taken to write up reports and requests to City Council in the summer and with support from Councillor Carol Day the city of Richmond along with the parks department has approved my proposal of building Purple Martin boxes at Garry Point Park! I was so excited when I got the news I went out to celebrate.

This project is considerably more expensive for the city because we must use boats to install the boxes on pilings in the water and the boxes must be made more weather proof as they will be in more harsher salt water conditions. We are going to add predator baffles and wire to prevent gulls from perching on them. The city has been wonderful about working with me to achieve the perfect design that will help bring the best chance of success to the new colony.

I took several trips to the park to figure out which posts would be the best for the colony. I chose this park because the slough they will be in is calm with low boat noise/traffic and especially very low people traffic. Garry Point Park is also located directly across from Reifel Bird Sanctuary where they have an active Purple Martin nest box colony. Plus Yousif Attia and I have been noticing and documenting Purple Martins frequenting and perching in the area over the last year which is a good and exciting sign.

I am so excited that the city has been so supportive of my Tree Swallow nextbox project and now the city has come on board to help install Purple Martin boxes. Purple Martins are blue-listed and declining even more so than the Tree Swallows so I'm grateful the city wants to do its part to help them out. There are so few natural nesting cavities left for these birds in BC. To read more about the plight of Purple Martins in BC click HERE.

Richmond is a city that is especially lacking of green space so this is vital here. The Tree Swallow and Purple Martin projects will both be going on in 2022 so that means I will be extra busy monitoring and cleaning and we will be writing a final report as we did for the Tree Swallows but it is all worth it for the birds!. It is the least I can do for all the gifts these creatures have given me. I hope with the active Iona colony and this Garry Point location we can help bring more of these wonderful birds to the city.

The city is planning for an install date of March 2022.  Thanks to the city contracting a boat to help make this project possible and for paying for the gas, all materials and installation costs for this project. Thanks to the city carpenters  who will be building the boxes with my approved design as well!

Thank you especially to Richard Kenny from Richmond Parks and the Parks management team who have supported me so much since DAY 1 and to Councillor Carol Day for believing in this project! I truly hope it is a success. I will be doing several posts about this during the install, during monitoring and a final report for the city and public detailing if it is successful or not. Thank you also to Rob Lyske who made two prototype boxes that I took to present to city council in order for them to visually see what I wanted to do. Thank you to all of the city councillors and mayor Malcolm Brodie for reading our Tree Swallow report and for supporting the Swallow and Martin nest box project in this city. Thank you to all my friends who have volunteered to help me clean and monitor the boxes as well. Thank you to Ilya for all his help on the Tree Swallow Project and helping me co-write the report and for his continued help during the upcoming Purple Martin project. I am truly grateful. 

These are similar to the type of Purple Martin Boxes I will help the city design and install 

Purple Martin in Richmond - Photo: Melissa Hafting

Purple Martins I photographed in a natural nesting cavity in Point Roberts,WA - Photo: Melissa Hafting


  1. Congratulations! This is great news. I look forward to seeing the boxes and, hopefully, Purple Martins at Garry Point in the future. Thank you for your work to get this accomplished!

    1. thank you so much for your kind words brian!! I really hope the colony will take off at garry point! fingers crossed!

  2. Fantastic work Mel!! You're awesome!!! This is great news - purple martins are one of my favourite birds!! Keep up the good work - wish there were more people like you!!

    1. thank you so much kate! they are one of my fave birds too. our largest and dare i say most beautiful swallow... well maybe tied with violet-green ;-)

  3. Congrats Mel. You have amazing dedication and passion for birds and their welfare.
    The PUMA's will thank you

    1. thank you ken you are so very kind. great seeing you yesterday.


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