Posts Tagged ‘premigratory roost’

Gone to the Birds Festival at Shockoe Bottom, Virginia

Monday, August 8th, 2011

In another display of bird lovers coming out to witness the spectacle of a Purple Martin premigratory roost, Shockoe Bottom (by Richmond) in Virginia had their annual “Gone to the Birds” festival. Not the largest roost but still mighty impressive at an estimated 25,000, a cluster of Bradford pear trees served as the center piece for the 4th festival at the 17th Street Farmers’ Market in Shockoe Bottom. The celebration featured purple creations of all sorts, from purple snow cones to purple martinis for the grown ups. To read the article and see a video of the birds coming in to roost, click on the photo.

For more info on this yearly event you can go to the website at for their blog, news and more.

Purple Martin Pre-Migratory Roost Spectacular

Friday, June 26th, 2009

New Roost @ the Tower Shops in Davie

I finally made it to the new location of the Davie roost. The Tower Shops. I got there early, about 7:15 pm and thought instantly that I was going to have a problem. Unlike the old roost location at the Davie Road Racetrac gas station. This plaza was HUGE! A gigantic and busy strip mall with 4 big anchor stores, a Costco, Home Depot, several large restaurants, fast food joints and a Chevron gas station, all on one huge corner lot that had to be a mile wide.

A quick glance around and i saw a few token martins but more Starlings and Grackles than anything. I was meeting Julie Levin from the Sun-Sentinal and not only did i want to see a show, I wanted her to see it too. There is nothing more fun than sharing your OCD obsession with someone who hasn’t heard you talk about it before. Lord knows my poor husband is OVER birds at this point. By the time August comes around he can’t wait for me to take all the bird houses down and get back to being “normal”.

When 8 pm rolled around and all I saw was a few distant swirls of maybe 100 birds I thought I was going to be in for a huge let down but I was not to be disappointed…not tonight. By 8:25 I was surrounded by my birds. All over as far as the eye could see. The video camera does the scene no justice. For every 2 inches of sky you see with the camera, there is 180 degrees of more of the same. Thousands of birds twirl with distant dots of more birds behind them coming at you as if it were never going to stop. Almost as if God was pouring purple martins out of the sky and onto your lap. It was a true joy to watch and I could visit every night.

© 2009 S.Halpin /

Davie Florida Roost- MARTIN DOWN!!!

Saturday, June 13th, 2009
Davie FLORIDA Premigratory Roost

Davie FLORIDA Premigratory Roost

Today has to be one of the highlights in my short yet thrilling experiences as a Purple Martin Landlord. Tonight at 7pm my husband and 2 young boys took me to the RaceTrac gas station on Davie Road in Davie, Fl. It was the most spectacular thing I have ever seen. And to think that this roost is SMALL!!! Photos can not do it justice. I tried taking photos and I felt like I was trying to photograph the Grand Canyon with a Polaroid. I can only wonder the splendor of a large roost like those in Texas, Louisiana or Pennsylvania. My husband took a guess and says somewhere around 5,000 birds or so. In a photo I took I counted 200 martins in that small area alone. And the sky was covered with them. I highly encourage any local birders to check out this most amazing show.

On a sad note, as I walked about before the martins came in force I noticed the ground under the trees that the martins are roosting in, was littered with dead martins in various stages of consumption. Piles of feathers, martins with heads chewed off, wings and other bits and pieces covered the grass. I was aghast and at first I assumed that Owls were arriving at night to feast on the martins. That may well be the case but then my husband pointed out the real culprit. A large raccoon scampered across the parking lot and climbed the first tree. It became quite apparent that the raccoons are having a nightly banquet of bird. Of course they don’t have the decency to finish one birds before killing another. I walked from bird corpse to bird corpse wondering what I could do…trust me, I had some crazy thoughts.

As I walked about taking photos I noticed one of the “corpses” was looking back at me. Laying on its back with his head turned so he could see me, a fledgling Purple Martin lay moving his short feet in a bicycle riding fashion. I approached slowly and thought it would right itself in time to fly off, but it did not. I picked him up and gave him a look over. A perfectly alert little HY purple martin. His eyes are sharp and his temper was quick but when I tested his wings he did not seem to even want to flap them. Weak or injured he is now resting comfortably in a dark box with a crop full of mealworms and scrambled eggs. I will take him to Folke Peterson Wildlife Center in the AM to be checked out. If all looks good I hope to return him to the roost to join the other martins.

It is late and my heart is happy so off to sleep. I will post more pictures of the roost in an upcoming blog entry. So check back soon!

June 11, 2008

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008

Tomorrow was supposed to be the big day but I swear I think Natural gourd #8 may have partially or even completely fledged. It seemed late in the day but there were new babies flying about with that harsh cry they use to call to their parents. A back and forth coarse chirp with the parents whistle back.

The business side of things is having some interesting developments. I may be attending the Space Coast Birding & Wildlife Festival in Jan of 2009 as a vendor and speaker. I will keep you updated on that.

On Saturday an article about a Purple Martin premigratory roost is coming out. I spoke with the journalist and I may be mentioned in that also. I will post links to the article as soon as I get it. I plan on going to the roost myself sometime in the next week. It seems like it is a spectacular sight. I can’t fathom 6,000 birds in one spot. I see about 35 at my sight and I am dazzled. I think I may have a religious experience! Perhaps on Sunday I will go. (Happy Fathers Day!) I want to take video and photos of the roost though. I was told that the current estimate is about 6,000 birds at that roost. With more still to come.  Of course, I will post any video of this on my YouTube site.