Purple Martin Migration
2021 Purple Martin Migration Watch Parties
Upcoming Dates: Saturday, August 7; Sunday, August 22; Saturday, September 4; Sunday, September 19.
Location for August 7 Watch Party: to be determined. We recommend you bring a chair and an umbrella.
Background Information: 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, they form large flocks and roost together in preparation for migration. Join us to watch the amazing spectacle.
Peak numbers for Purple Martins occur in July and August when Purple Martins form large flocks and roost together in great numbers in preparation to migration. Some roosts may have thousands of birds. When the birds arrive to roost in the evening, it can be an amazing spectacle with the sky literally black with martins! If you know of a large roost, please contact us at email@example.com. We have prepared an informational flyer about communal roosts, suitable for display. Join us in helping to protect Purple Martins!
Traditional Locations of Large Martin Roosts
The Fountains is a shopping center in Stafford at Hwy 59 and Kirkwood. If you take 59 south, exit Kirkwood and turn right onto Fountain Lake Drive. Turn left into the shopping center. The martins congregate at Gordon Park behind the center. They drink at the ponds and then perch in the trees and wires at the park and around the shopping center. The park is on Fountain Lake Drive directly behind the shopping center. In 2012, Thomas Bumby and Patrick Dusek confirmed martins were roosting at the Stafford site on June 2-3. Donald Troha located the martin roost on weather radar as early as June 8 and on the evening of June 13 counted 3,000 birds. Prior locations for this roost were the KBR Building on Clinton Drive in Houston, the west side of Sharpstown Mall, and just south of the Galleria on South Post Oak.
Large martin roosts are found around the mall. In 2014, martins roosted in several oak trees located at 12707 N Gessner just west of Highway 249 and south of FM 1960. They are in some trees between Guayaba Latin Grill and Wendy's - right across the street from Babin's Seafood House. In 2013 the martins usually settled in just 4 or 5 oak trees: two oaks right between the street FM 1960 and Starbucks and the other two oaks closer to the Room Store along the drive going up to the front of the Room Store.
Purple Martin flight patterns are sometimes visible on weather surveillance radar. The patterns can resemble rings which are particularly dense as they disperse to forage in the early morning.