Purple Martin Watch Parties
Presented by CenterPoint Energy
Our party originally scheduled for September 17 has been canceled. The birds have moved on, probably due to the drought.
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. Bring your family and friends and experience the spectacle with us! Stop by our info table to chat with our staff and volunteers about Purple Martins and their amazing migration.
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.
The area around Willowbrook Mall has hosted numerous sites on both sides of Highway 249 near Gessner.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We have prepared an informational flyer about communal roosts, suitable for display. Join us in helping to protect Purple Martins!
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.