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Archive for August, 2010
The final tally is in and our numbers were up. We offered more compartments and had 3 late nests that ran our season into late July. We also offered 3 low hanging gourds on shepherds hooks that were less5 feet off the ground and all filled with both SY and ASYpairs.
Thankfully no purple martins needed to go to the rehabber but unfortunately the resident red shouldered hawk caught several fledglings.
Total Eggs Laid: 202
Total Eggs Hatched: 170
Total Young Fledged: 158
Plans for next year include the repair of the nest cam, another aluminum house to put up on our multi-purpose purple martin pole and whatever else I can dream up for next year.
Going to your local premigratory roosts are a great way to herald the end of summer. The spectacular swarms of purple martins, descending in on trees, weighing down their branches like a heavy burden as countless more rain down to jockey for a spot for the night. It is an awe inspiring sight not easily forgotten.
What happens to all those birds in the morning though? Not many people hang around or get up early enough to watch the birds ascend to the sky come sunrise. The National Weather Service and their Doppler Radars have documented this phenomenon for years since bird movements were discovered on radar back in the 1940′s. On the radar image here, you can see the red arrows pointing to these radar rings (also called doughnuts) formed by the mass of birds flying out and away from the roosting sites. According to the Purple Martin Conservation Association and their Project Martin Roost, more than 300 possible roosts occur in Eastern North America. The largest known roost, at Lake Murray in South Carolina has over 700,000 birds.
Kevin R. Russell and Sidney A. Gauthreaux, jr. did a wonderful study titled, Use of Weather Radar to Characterize Movements of Roosting Purple Martins, (back in 1998) that is an interesting read. You can also read what the National Weather Service has to say about it with their article titled Roosting Birds Detected on NWS Doppler Radar.
If you know of a roost consider visiting one before the martins are gone. You won’t regret it. If you can’t get to one you can always watch our video we took in 2009 of a local roost in Davie Florida here.
An interesting read, this article on the Winston-Salem Journal by Phil Dickinson and Ron Morris (Bird’s Eye View Columnists) talks about purple martins in North Carolina and the spectacular migratory roost around the old U.S. 64 bridge over Croatan Sound between Manns Harbor and Manteo.
Check it out!
Published: August 7, 2010