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Activities for All Ages

Purple Martins in Houston

Purple Martin Watch Events 2020

Upcoming Date: Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Purple Martins in Stafford have left early this year. While we’re disappointed we won’t get to share the spectacle with you this Friday as planned, we wish the martins well on their long journey south. Instead, we’ll be taking the migration madness digital. Join us on Facebook Live to watch videos of past roosts and learn all about Purple Martins from local expert Matt Lanza. Our Education Director Mary Anne Weber will be hosting the program, along with a very special guest – Emilio the Purple Martin!

Background Information: From July to September, Houston's Purple Martins form large flocks and roost together in preparation for migration. They spend most of the day feeding on flying insects to build energy for their long journey across the Gulf of Mexico. They spend their evenings resting at Old Navy! Don't miss this amazing spectacle! The sky is speckled black with a flurry of thousands of birds at sunset.

Bring a chair and meet us at 7:00 PM in front of Old Navy at the Fountains in Stafford.
12634 Fountain Lake Circle, Stafford TX 77477.

If you arrive before 7:00 PM, drive out behind the shopping center to Fountain Lake Park to watch the Purple Martins as they fly low to drink water from the pond and as they gather on the power lines nearby. There is a parking lot for the Fountain Lake Park located around 12003 Breezy Meadow Dr.

Photos from 2019 events

Useful Links

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 birds@houstonaudubon.org. 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

Radar Sightings

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.

  • Citgo
  • BP
  • Chevron Retiree Association
  • Land Sea & Sky
  • Shell Oil Company Foundation
  • Strabo Tours
  • Tropical Birding
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