Date: 7/9/18 4:14 am From: Shelia Hargis <shelia.hargis...> Subject: [texbirds] Purple Martin Roost in Austin - Need Information
Good morning all, If you live in Austin, especially in Central or North Austin, we need your help to locate the Purple Martin roost. Usually by this time of year, the roost is very obvious and many birds are using it. But the birds are making it very challenging this year!
In May, AJ Johnson and his son stopped by Taco Bell on Cameron Road on the east side of Capital Plaza. AJ texted saying there were a bunch of Purple Martins roosting there. We were shocked because we hadn't known that they started roosting that early. Over the next month or so, we monitored the roost occasionally. As the time for Travis Audubon's Purple Martin Parties got closer, we started monitoring the roost more often. We found that the birds were moving between several groups of trees on the Capital Plaza property. One night there would be birds in the Taco Bell trees and the next night they would be roosting in the trees near Chase Bank on the west side of the property. Within the last few days, the roost has totally disappeared from Capital Plaza. Our team has searched the historical roost locations without success - Embassy Suites, Texas Land & Cattle, and Highland Mall/ACC Highland area. I talked with Byron Stone last night and he is seeing birds flying in from the west but maybe not as many as in years past. So, it seems likely that they are roosting somewhere in Austin but in smaller numbers than normal. We just haven't found that location. Byron mentioned that the birds roosted at Walter E Long (Decker) Lake in the past.
I asked the researcher with AeroEcology to review radar images for a roost signature. They did not see one in Austin. I'm guessing that is because the number of birds is too small to detect with radar.
So, if you're in Austin, please watch for martins flying over near dusk. If you can follow them or at least note the direction they are headed, that would be appreciated. And if you find the roost, we will sing your praises far and wide! Email me at this address with any information you have.
If you live in another location that has a roost, I'm very interested to hear how things are going with your roost. Is the roost active? Is it in the normal location? Are you seeing about the same number of birds you normally see at this time of year?
Thanks for your help. Shelia Hargis
-- Shelia Hargis President Texas Ornithological Society