Bye Bye Birdie: America’s Beloved Purple Martins Gather Together Before Flying Back To Brazil

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Purple Martin pre-migratory roosts are forming now. North America’s largest species of swallow, Purple Martins nest and raise their families in North America and winter in the rainforests of Brazil. East of the Rocky Mountains, Purple Martins nest almost exclusively in human-supplied housing. They are one of America’s most well-loved songbirds, known for their chattering song, aerial acrobatics, insect-eating habits and their tolerance of humans.

In late summer, after leaving their nesting colonies, Purple Martins gather in huge flocks to feed, socialize and rest before migrating. This activity, known as pre-migratory roosting can attract hundreds of thousands of birds to sleep in one small area, arriving at sunset en masse in what Joe Siegrist, president of the Purple Martin Conservation Association, calls “an amazing natural spectacle”. “As the sun begins to set, all of a sudden tens…even hundreds of thousands of Purple Martins appear out of nowhere in locations across the country. Their swirling acrobatics and sheer numbers are a phenomenon that everyone needs to witness."

Purple Martins leave their roost near dawn in a mass exodus. The number of birds leaving the roost at the same time is large enough to be detected on weather radar. It looks like an expanding ring on the radar map. By studying radar data the PMCA is able to locate possible roosts located around North America.

Roost are typically associated with larger bodies of water where reed beds and dry islands with low, thick vegetation provide sanctuary from predators and a micro-climate warmer and less windy than land. They are also found in urban and suburban settings, sometimes formed in trees or on man-made structures such as bridges and pipes. 

Depending on location, roosting can begin in mid-June and run through mid-September, peaking at the end of July to early August. Martins can come from hundreds of miles to roost. Individual birds may use a roost for several weeks before migrating but the roost itself may last for 8-12 weeks or more.

To follow along with the Purple Martins’ roosts and learn more about how you can help conserve this treasured bird, visit www.purplemartin.org. Roosts are currently occurring all over the United States. In addition, people interested in learning more about how to attract and care for Purple Martins can receive a free booklet by contacting the Purple Martin Conservation Association by emailing info@purplemartin.org or calling (814) 833-7656.


State Parks Hosting Tennessee Serves, Extended National Public Lands Day Events Beginning Sept. 25

Master Gardeners Of Hamilton County Fall Garden Festival Is Sept. 25

Chattanooga Park Stewards Hosts Environmental Stewardship Event On Public Lands Day, Sept. 25


Tennessee State Parks will host volunteer events starting Saturday through the month of October in support of First Lady Maria Lee’s Tennessee Serves monthly challenge. “The relationship ... (click for more)

The Master Gardeners of Hamilton County, in association with the University of Tennessee Extension, are holding a “Fall Garden Festival” on Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. outdoors around the ... (click for more)

In honor of Public Lands Day this Saturday, Chattanooga Park Stewards will host an environmental stewardship event from 9 a.m.-noon at the Stinger's Ridge, Spears Avenue trailhead. There will ... (click for more)



Outdoors

State Parks Hosting Tennessee Serves, Extended National Public Lands Day Events Beginning Sept. 25

Tennessee State Parks will host volunteer events starting Saturday through the month of October in support of First Lady Maria Lee’s Tennessee Serves monthly challenge. “The relationship between Tennessee Serves and Tennessee State Parks is a natural fit, and we are excited to continue this partnership for a third year,” First Lady Lee said. “We are grateful to the many volunteers ... (click for more)

Master Gardeners Of Hamilton County Fall Garden Festival Is Sept. 25

The Master Gardeners of Hamilton County, in association with the University of Tennessee Extension, are holding a “Fall Garden Festival” on Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. outdoors around the Hamilton County Extension Ag Center and Bonny Oaks Arboretum, 6183 Adamson Circle, off Bonny Oaks Drive. Admission is $5 for adults; children 12 and under are free. Free parking is available. ... (click for more)

Breaking News

6 Juveniles Arrested For Theft And Shooting Of K9 Joker To Be Detained Until Hearing

Six juveniles (ages 13-17 years old), who were arrested for their criminal involvement in auto burglaries and shooting of BCSO K9 Joker, attended an arraignment hearing on Friday. They were ordered to be held at the Bradley County Juvenile Detention Center until their detention hearing next Thursday. Prior to their arraignment, the Cleveland Police Department charged them ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Reports 2 More Deaths From Virus, 143 New Cases; Tennessee Has 85 More Deaths

The Hamilton County Health Department reported two more coronavirus deaths on Friday and 143 new positive cases, down from 174 the day before. The total cases in the county now stands at 60,893. The death total is at 613. The deaths was reported to be two women, one black and one white, one age 51-60 and the other was age 61-70. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations is ... (click for more)

Opinion

Why Is All The New Building Not Saving Us From A 40-Cent City Property Tax Increase? - And Response

With the number of homes, apartments and condos built downtown, why is a 40 percent property tax increase necessary? Are these new structures on the paying property tax role? I need to know what’s going on downtown and why isn’t that money benefiting the city? Georgia Vaughn * * * The answer is that tax exemptions for these projects have been given out freely and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Degradation Of Nurses

Debbie Moore-Black, is a registered nurse whose blogs regularly appear on the medical news website, KevinMD.com. With the unearthly demands of COVID and historic lack of concern for the nursing populace, she wrote this week on the degradation and the devaluation of the nation’s nursing force. Perhaps we should all listen: * * * TIME WILL TELL IF LESSONS WILL BE LEARNED ... (click for more)