Whether you are hooked on bird watching or just like to know what you are looking at, knowing your birds is important. In this article, we take a look at Purple Martins.
As the name suggests, Purple Martins are a colorful bunch. Only the males actually have a purplish blue color. Females tend to be dark brown with bellies that are whitish. Male or female, they have a distinct appearance.
Purple Martins are members of the swallow family. They are found throughout North America, but migrate to South America in the summer. They are a larger bird noted for their triangular wings. They have a deep whistle and often made metal sounding trilling calls.
These are a much loved bird by homeowners in the spring and summer. Why? They are insect eaters. Specifically, they have been touted as mosquito eaters. While they do eat mosquitoes, they tend to go for larger insects that make better meals. Still, anything that eats mosquitoes gets a thumbs up in my book!
When it comes to nesting, Purple Martins like to be up in the air. They build nests in niches or gourd like areas. The use twigs and dry grass for the structure, but line the interior with green leaves. This is believed to help maintain humidity for the eggs. The female Purple Martins will lay three to seven eggs. Oddly, the first eggs tend to result in stronger chicks than the latter eggs. Once hatched, the parents feed the chicks insects ranging from beetles to ants. The chicks remain in the nest for roughly one month.
As a member of the swallow family, Purple Martins are social birds. They are seen migrating in huge flocks. They nest in colonies of these flocks. They are also receptive to human habitats, which means you may see them in your backyard and on golf courses.
They are an interesting bird to keep an eye out for when you are birding. They are certainly worth adding to your life list, although they are not really a difficult sighting to find.