The Purple Martins are a kind of large swallow that is being encouraged to remain in our area by the placing of these special purple martin houses on pilings where they can nest and be close to the flying insects that they prefer to catch, apparently you will rarely see them on the ground finding insects.
I first learned about these birds with my Dad a couple of years ago while we were visiting Providence Farm (http://www.providence.bc.ca) in the Lake Cowichan area. I purchased a bird house that one of their workers had built to put on a pole on our property to help with the encouragement and with the self interested hope that they will inhabit it so we can watch and listen to them. Their song is quite unusual and is one that you could listen to for ages with delight.
To find out more about them you could try going to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purple_Martin.
The photos below were taken at the Buckley Bay ferry terminal, where you catch the ferry that takes you to Denman Island. Besides the purple martin houses being interesting, I really like the look of the pilings!
If you look closely you can see a couple of the birds, especially in the last photo.