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Bird enthusiasts to begin mapping purple martin

US: Purple martins, the largest of the swallow family in Wisconsin, are expected to begin returning to Wisconsin to nest in coming days, but some bird enthusiasts say that after years of abundance in the western part of the state, the bird's numbers are on the decline.

The Gaylord Nelson chapter of the Audubon Society plans to start a mapping project to track the birds in north-western Wisconsin. The Gaylord Nelson Audubon Society includes Barron, Burnett, Dunn, Polk, St. Croix, and Polk counties.

The group hopes to locate every active martin nest and sites where the birds historically nested in an area stretching from Crex Meadows Wildlife Area in Grantsburg to the Mississippi River at Nelson to Osseo to Stanley and into Barron County. Group members will record GPS coordinates and a written description of each purple martin and colony.

Source: Pioneer Press