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Bomb Island, Lake Murray, SC

Roost Location:
Lexington, South Carolina, United States (Lexington County)
Approximate Coordinates:
 34.05850, -81.30977 (Google Map | MapQuest Map)
(Note: This is not a precise location!)
This roost was detected with NEXRAD Radar in 2004 and classified as Significant
The coordinates are the approximate center of the roost's radar signature.


Below are reports, most recent first, for this roost:
Reported By: Suzanne Rhodes
Send an email to Suzanne Rhodes
Reported: June 2009

Description of Roost's Location: no change

Public Access to Roost?: Yes

History of Roost: no change

Description of Roost's Habitat: no change except probably more foliage

Roost Begins Approximately: Mid-June

Roost Ends Approximately: Mid-August


Reported By: Louise Meyers
Send an email to Louise Meyers
Reported: May 2007

Estimate of Purple Martins Present: 1 million +

Description of Roost's Location: Bomb Island in the middle of Lake Murray

Public Access to Roost?: Yes

History of Roost: The birds have been roosting on bomb island since the 1980's and the roost gets larger every year.

Description of Roost's Habitat: The island has small trees and shrubs for the birds to roost. The island is 12 acres

Roost Begins Approximately: Early-July

Roost Ends Approximately: Mid-September

Threats to/Problems with Roost: An island in the middle of Lake Murray. No threats at this time.200-300 boats around the island at sunset does not seem to bother them.

Opportunities at Roost: The first purple martin sanctuary in the United States.When birds are roosting in the summer months, no one is allowed on the island. What makes the Lake Murray roosting site so cool is that people can only watch the birds departure and return by boat. When the birds leave in the morning, it is like an explosion and the local weather radar has said the image is larger than Hurricane Hugo was in 1989.


Reported By: Jim Beatson
Send an email to Jim Beatson
Reported: August 2005

Estimate of Purple Martins Present: 300,000-700,000

Description of Roost's Location: The roost is located on Lunch Island in the middle of Lake Murray (also known as Doolittle Island or Bombing Range Island) is North America's first officially designated Purple Martin sanctuary. It's only viewable by boat.

Public Access to Roost?: Yes

History of Roost: According to several articles, the roost has been building since the early 1990's. In 1996 was designated a Purple Martin Sanctuary by "...DNR, the Columbia Audubon Society and SCE&G." And protected. On page 4 of "The Purple Martin Update," Vol.14(3) Summer of 2005, there is a photo of this roost credited to none other than PMCA's James R. Hill III.

Description of Roost's Habitat: Description of the island from SC Wildife Magazine, July Aug. 2000: "Approx. a 12 acre island." Hardwood, pines and undergrowth and the martins even roost in the grass.

Threats to/Problems with Roost: Apparently this roost is stable. It is protected by DNR. When I last saw the roost the last week of July 2002, the audubon guide estimated between 300,000 and 400,000 martins.


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