Seeing more newbies this year

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Joined: Mon May 17, 2004 1:14 pm
Location: essex county ontario

Seeing more newbies this year

Postby joeincan » Fri Jul 08, 2005 3:42 pm

Aside from the fact that I have my first nesting pair I see 15 to 40 newly fledged birds sitting on the wires along the road. This is as many as I have ever seen in our area.
Last year wasn't near as good.
Would this be called a roost? Did the parents of all these Martins go their own way? My guess is they will be feeding and growing until some signal sends them on their way.

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.

Postby Laverne » Fri Jul 08, 2005 9:39 pm

Hey Joe.

Most likely what you are seeing would be called a staging area. If you are seeing these birds during the day - then that is what you would call it. A roost is completely vacant until about 30 - 45 minutes before dark. Suddenly, the sky begins to fill with swirling masses of Purple Martins (and we are talking thousands of birds) and they all descend into a specific clump of trees or a specific location (such as an island or bridge). Shortly after darkness falls, they are all landed and safely stay put for the night. When the sky begins to lighten in the morning, they all take off again. This is probably when they come to your place and hang around all day. They will do this until somebody says, "Hey, let's migrate!!"

A roost site may last for two months. A constant trickle of birds in and a constant trickle out (further south) may go on for many weeks.

My parents have a farm near ElCampo, TX. Every year, Purple Martins gather at the farm during the day. They line the power lines and fly the lake for water and bathing and feast on the insects that a farm provides. As evening falls, they leave... we don't know where they go from there. There is bound to be a premigratory roost somewhere closeby. I am trying to locate it on radar...

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