Hundreds of Purple Martins are roosting at the Highland Mall area in Austin. This pre-migration roost attracts hundreds of purple martins each summer and its number builds around the middle of July and dwindles in early August when they start migrating to South America. Last night it was estimated to be over a half million or approximately 600,000 Purple Martins .
We went there at seven in the evening and relaxed in the chairs that we brought with us. The birds started coming around that time in small flocks and suddenly hundreds of them appeared and covered our big Texas sky at eight. Be sure to wear hats if you don’t want “blessings” from above but aside from that, it was definitely a spectacular event.
The Travis Audubon Society has been hosting Purple Martin Parties for viewing pleasure, as well as for educational and conservation purposes. Please click link to learn the schedules and exact location HERE.
Here’s my video clip to get a sense of how fascinating it was when they covered the night sky and the trees nearby.
“Purple Martins are the largest swallows and the only martin in North America. They’re approximately 8” or 20 cm in length. Adult males are iridescent, dark blue-purple overall with brown-black wings and tail. Females and immatures are duller, with variable amounts of gray on the head and chest and a whitish lower belly. Purple Martins fly rapidly with a mix of flapping and gliding. They feed in midair, catching large, aerial insects such as dragonflies. Martins feed and roost in flocks, often mixed with other species of swallows. They often feed higher in the air than other swallows, which can make them tough to spot.”~www.allaboutbirds.org
Click thumbnail for a larger view.