Posted by: atowhee | July 16, 2018


Here’s a note I got from a long-time friend who lives on the East Coast…about the Purple Martin migration there.  The eastern population is many times greater than what we have here on the Pacific Slope:

The state is warning travelers to slow down for an annual gathering of purple martins bigger than the population of Portsmouth or Greenville, N.C.

More than 100,000 of the tiny, fast-flying insect eaters collect at the west end of the Umstead Bridge over the Croatan Sound as they prepare for their annual migration to Brazil.

The birds roost under the bridge at night after a day of feeding, according to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

The swarm of birds is a spectacle that draws people for a view at the west end of the bridge and from boats in the water. The flock is so large it can be seen on satellite images.

The state has worked with the Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society for 11 years to protect the birds from passing traffic by activating flashing lights and posting a 20-mph speed limit on the bridge.

The martin is the largest of our native swallows.  “Martin” is a word widely used in heraldry and ornithology in Britain.  The European House Martin is very much like our Cliff Swallows.  In America only the Purple Martin uses the old English name.

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