Purple Martin Update

Last fall the entire population of our largest species of swallow took flight to follow the summer south of the equator. They spent the past several months in South America. They are now making their way back north, some having already been spotted within North Carolina. Click the link below to see where. Once there, click on the + to zoom in. Click on the purple dots to get information on individual sightings across their range as they progress northward.Read more

Purple Martin Migration

Purple martins, those large, iridescent purple, colonial nesting, flying insect eating swallows are on their way back home. They’ve spent the winter south of the border in places like Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina. Scouts have already been seen in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansa, Louisiana, and Texas. In fact, the first reported sighting was in St. James City, Florida on New Years Day. Purple martins are our largest swallow. In the east, they nest, almost exclusively,Read more

Northern Rough-winged Swallow

There was a considerable amount of flycatching going on in our Wetlands on Wednesday. Besides the local Eastern Phoebes and winter resident Yellow-rumped Warblers (butter butts) sallying forth from their willow branch perches to capture winged insects over the Wetlands’ water, two Northern Rough-winged Swallows showed up. They are aerial specialist, only perching to rest on occasion. Of the six swallow species you’re likely to see in our area, the Northern Rough-winged Swallow is the one that I’ve most oftenRead more


It seems the lengthening days and warm weather of last week created a stirring in some of the local wildlife. As I drove in to work Friday I saw two Black Vultures copulating on the side of the road. On Wednesday (4/19) I saw one of our local Red-shouldered Hawks aloft, stooping, soaring, and screaming for all the world to see and hear his desire to procreate. I later saw the bird land next to another red-shoulder and mount the otherRead more

Purple Martins in the snow

As reported last week Purple Martins are on their way north. The first arrivals in North Carolina have been seen, just in time for the snow, sleet, freezing rain and cold. The birds were spotted in the southern portion of our state in Maxton (2/9) and Godwin (2/10) NC. Both of those locations are on the coastal plain about 56 miles distance from one another. These birds are insectivorous, wish them luck.Read more

Purple Martin Arrivals 2014

For those of you who have an interest in Purple Martins, those large iridescent purple swallows of summer, they’re on the move and slowly making their way north. Here, see for yourself at The Purple Martin Conservation Association Scout Arrival Study page. So far, the early arrivals (scouts) have been seen in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. It won’t be long till one is spotted right here in North Carolina! Enjoy.Read more

Purple Martins

I’ve been derelict in my duty. I usually start reporting on the arrival in the States of Purple Martins by January or February at the latest. It’s March, and I haven’t mentioned the big purple swallows once. The birds have been steadily trekking back from their winter stay in South America for some time now. You’ll be glad to know that they have been seen throughout our fair state with the first sighting being February 3 in Four Oaks NC. Here’sRead more

Purple Martins have arrived!!

No, no the martins have’t arrived here at the Museum, but elsewhere in North Carolina for sure. This from the local bird ListServ carolinabirds: From: Henry Link <linkh@bellsouth.net> Date: February 22, 2012 1:24:04 PM EST To: Carolinabirds <carolinabirds@duke.edu> Subject: Guilford County Arrivals Guilford County’s “Martin Man”, Danny Royster called this morning to report seeing the first Purple Martin in his backyard north of Greensboro on Feb. 17. He had ten Purple Martins yesterday and a FOY [First of Year] TreeRead more

Purple Martin Update 2012

Believe it or not, Purple Martins, those large dark swallows with a purple sheen to their plumage, have already been spotted in our fair state. One martin scout was reported as being seen on February 9 in Godwin, NC. I wish the best of luck to all of those birds represented on the map as purple dots (above link), we still have plenty of winter remaining. The temperature drops as I sit here typing. It will be in the twentiesRead more