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Common Nighthawk

Houston Audubon Hosts Purple Martin Watch Parties This Summer

Purple Martin Watch Parties

Graceful in flight, the Purple Martin, the largest of North America’s swallows, is one of Houston’s most popular birds. In late summer, after leaving the nesting colony with fledglings in tow, Purple Martins gather daily in large flocks to feed, socialize, and roost before migrating.  

The Houston metro area is lucky to have Purple Martin roosts, with some areas witnessing up to 500,000 birds. From July to September, Houston's Purple Martins spend most of the day feeding on flying insects to build energy for their long journey across the Gulf of Mexico. At dusk, large flocks cover the sky in a dark cloud as they fly into the trees to roost, this spectacle lasting about 45 minutes.  

At Houston Audubon’s Purple Martin Watch Parties, sponsored this year by CenterPoint Energy, the community is invited to gather and witness the wonder of Purple Martin flying patterns as they come together to roost every night. During the parties, Houston Audubon staff and volunteers are on hand to educate attendees about Purple Martins, their amazing journey, and how people can help protect these birds.  These free, family-friendly events are fun for all ages.  

Houston Audubon’s Purple Martin Watch Parties occur at dusk from July until September. The two big roosts are in Stafford and Willowbrook. Because nature is unpredictable, locations are subject to change, so please check our website or social media for up-to-date news. More information can be found on our website at