Friday, September 23, 2011

Purple Martins

A colony of Purple Martins at Rock Cut State Park, Rockford, IL; 8/3/2011.
The only time I have seen Purple Martins was in and near man-made bird houses, so in early August, I was pleasantly surprised to observe a moderate sized colony of these martins in the more natural state  of Rock Cut State Park. They were swooping down over Pierce Lake gleening insects off the water surface and roosting in a couple of nearby trees (Above).  This is also the first time I have seen Purple Martins in Illinois. During the summer months, they are found throughout the Eastern half of the U.S. and in spotty regions out West as well as in Canada. In winter they will migrtae as far south as the middle of South America. In the East they most exclusively nest in man-made Martin Houses; however, in the West they are more likely be found in natural cavities such as holes in trees and in the sides of cliffs.

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