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A purple martin peeks out from the corner of a home on Minnesota's largest colony of the species, located on Long Lake in Hubbard County. Many of the young were casualties of cold weather last summer. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Hypothermia, starvation claim one-third of purple martin hatch

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It was a dismal year for purple martins. Starvation and hypothermia claimed the lives of one-third of Minnesota's largest colony, located in Hubbard County.


"There were a lot of people who lost everything," said Don Wilkins, whose Long Lake beachfront houses the colony. "It just was bad news."

Wilkins said two cold snaps and rain are to blame. Although his colony escaped the first wave, the second was catastrophic for his 100+ homes, most of them occupied.

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