In the mid-1980’s, Mannington began an effort to attract the insect-eating birds called Purple Martins to its Salem, NJ site as a pesticide-free way to reduce the insect population. Not only were mosquitoes and other insects a nuisance to associates, but they were attracted to some of the product components used in the manufacturing of flooring and could become lodged in the wet processes coming off the production lines – resulting in less than “first quality” product.
Associates at Mannington began getting even more engaged with the migratory pathways and tracking the Purple Martin population at the site in 2001, with a count of 42 nests, 132 eggs and 103 youngsters. Since then, the numbers have steadily increased– while insect-related product defects have steeply decreased. Over the past eight years, improvements have been made in the birds’ housing and this has allowed Mannington’s site to become one of the premier and larger colonies in this region. The 2012 counts are: 96 nests, 429 eggs, 383 youngsters.
The birds have left, as they do each August, and are now making their way back to South America before returning to south Jersey again in the early spring.