Tulsa Roost Has Moved to the Arkansas River

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
Dick Sherry
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:30 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

We have found the new location of the local roost. It is in trees on an island in the Arkansas River a little south of the 11th Street Bridge. The island is below some electric transmission lines that cross the river there and many of the martins gather on the lines before dropping into the trees. There are walking/jogging trails along the river's edge, so it is possible to get a good view of the roost, but you can't park a car close to the best viewing spot. There were probably more than 20,000 birds there Saturday evening.

This location should be a much better place for the birds and there shouldn't be any efforts made to get them to move like they encountered the past few years when they picked roost trees around some downtown buildings.

Two weeks ago, there were several thousand martins roosting in Bradford pear trees behind a convenience store at 15th & Denver (about a mile east of the river roost), but when I got back from the Martinfest trip they had moved.

I will post updates on the number of martins using this site, and see if I can find closer places to park for those who might want to come see this roost.
Robert McCallum
Posts: 215
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2004 8:34 pm
Location: Oklahoma/Tulsa

I appreciate your postings about the martin roost. Thanks and hope to see you there, as I did last year.
stan davison
Posts: 715
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:48 pm
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma

I went last night and i couldn't believe my eyes! Thousands and thousands. At one point i couldn't see the blue sky. How awesome. Oh and i was also attacked by a canadian goose. Bit my leg. I think this roost location is very safe for the martins but the swimmers in the apartment complex swimming pool might think differently.
Guest

I wonder how the fireworks display on the 4th will effect the roost
Dick Sherry
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:30 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Chuck, there has been a martin roost in the downtown area every year since the late 1980's. Most have been about a mile or more from the fireworks show, so this year will definitely be the closest roost site to the show, and it will only be about 3/4th mile from the bridge they shoot the skyrockets from. I plan to go to the roost before the 4th and the day after to see if the numbers are affected. I will put some information on what I find on the Forum. Have a good holiday!
stan davison
Posts: 715
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:48 pm
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma

I went to the roost last night and a helicopter kept buzzing by scaring the martins off the wires. Is this a news station possibly doing a story on purple martin migration or is the city up to its dirty tricks again. The chopper circled the roost several times and was so close that i'd be suprised if some martins werent injured or killed.
Dick Sherry
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:30 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Stan, were you able to see any markings on the helicopter? The police department has several helicopters, but they are easily identified with a star on the side. A few years ago, a private pilot got into quite a bit of trouble for landing his helicopter on the island to the south of the roost island, because he landed on a least tern colony and killed some young.

I was at the roost Saturday evening, and there were a lot more martins there than the week before. I am guessing between 50,000 and 100,000. I am planning on checking it tonight to see if the big fireworks show last night might have caused them to relocate. I will put some information on the Forum tomorrow on what I find.
Laverne
Posts: 2216
Joined: Thu Jan 08, 2004 1:58 pm
Location: TX/Alvin
Martin Colony History: Erected 1st house in 1997. Birds were checking it out before Mike got down from the ladder. Six cavities had a little colony 1st year. Grown to 88 cavities all gourds with near 100% occupancy. Most important factor for success is rain = bugs.

That ruffles my feathers!

Are there no laws protecting "Purple Martin" premigratory roosts? If not, how can we go about getting some laws passed to protect these valuable sites? Show me where to sign...

You almost don't want to say anything for fear of attracting attention to a roost site and then the attempts of "powers that be" to move it! Why can't they just leave the birds alone!!

I should think that an island roost would have little or no impact on the people population. The guy with the helicopter needs to be reprimanded by somebody - do y'all want me to come up there and straighten him out?!!! Mike won't let me go - he knows I would be the one thrown in jail!

:evil:
Sincerely,
Laverne
stan davison
Posts: 715
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:48 pm
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma

I couldn't identify the markings on the chopper, but i went the night after and didn't see it there. I did have to educate several of the apartment tenants because they were bothered by so many birds. Today is the 5th of july and i'm curious to hear how the fireworks affected the roost.
Dick Sherry
Posts: 772
Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2003 5:30 pm
Location: Tulsa, OK

Laverne, we would love to have you come up here and straighten out any number of local officials! If the birds will keep using the island roost, it will definitely reduce the potential for conflicts with property owners. I don't know of any legislation that specifically protects martin roosts other than the Federal Migatory Bird Act protection that says it is illegal to harm the martins. Even with this in place, Federal prosecutors won't always pursue prosecution of those who violate this law, as we found two years ago.

Stan, there may have to be a lot of public relations work done to let the apartment dwellers we talk to know about the martins. The ones I have visited with are amazed when they learn the birds are martins and that they will go all the way to South America for the winter. I really hope that as the martin numbers keep building they won't start using trees near the apartment buildings. There are quite a few Bradford pear trees on the grounds of the apartments, and they seem to be magnets for roosting martins.
stan davison
Posts: 715
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2005 7:48 pm
Location: Tulsa Oklahoma

Dick, they are definately using the small trees at the apartment complex, but i don't think the residents will be bothered because its so hot that everyone has the airconditioning unit on most of the night. When i was at the roost on the 3rd, right at about dark i could easily walk up and touch a martin roosting in those small trees along the sidewalk. We need to keep going to the roost until the birds head out, keeping our ears and eyes open, and giving locals some PM education..
Post Reply