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Categories: Community Event
Nestbox Challenge

Desert Purple Martin Nestbox Design Challenge Introduction with Olya Weekley and Jennie MacFarland

Registration for this virtual event is free.

Desert Purple Martins (Progne subis hesperia) are a subspecies of Purple Martins whose breeding range spans the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. They nest primarily in cavities created by woodpeckers in columnar cacti (saguaros and cardons). Availability of these nest cavities appears to limit their productivity and, by extension, total population size. Drought, coupled with invasion by non-native grasses into desert areas, has increased the frequency and intensity of cactus-killing wildfires. Saguaros can take 100-150 years to achieve the size necessary to host desert Purple Martin nests. Unlike their eastern counterpart, desert Purple Martins do not currently use nestboxes within their range, but they could benefit from a design that allows them to nest in artificial cavities as saguaro cactus face many current and ongoing threats leading to substantial losses in nest availability. That’s why Tucson Audubon and project partners are sponsoring a nestbox design competition with $2000 in cash prizes!  Join Olya Weekley & Jennie MacFarland to learn more about our journey with Purple Martins and the design contest guidelines.

For full details on the Desert Purple Martin Nestbox Design Contest, click here. Contest deadline is February 15th, 2023.


Header Image: Purple Martins by Francis Morgan





6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Zoom (virtual)


Zoom (virtual)


Jennie MacFarland

Tucson Audubon Bird Conservation Biologist

Other Organizers

Olya Weekley

Tucson Audubon Applied Conservation Project Manager