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.
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!
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.