Purple Martins & Other Buddhas

July 31, 2019.   I’m still vibrating from Monday evening in the midst of purple martins amassing at dusk — preparing to migrate into South America.  For a few evenings in July, the sky darkens with wings swooping down from way up high, collective perpetual motion, each bird merging into position, settling to rise again, resettle.  Quite the party scene!  Not sure if they wait for sufficient flock size, or weather cues, or perhaps the just-so moon cycle?  One morning their signals dictate, and away they go — migrating amassed.

I first experienced this rush in 2014.  We’ve missed out in recent years due to summer travels, but this year home early enough.  This collage is from 2014 photos (I had a real camera with me that night).  Some challenges an iPhone simply cannot meet.  And no camera (still or video) can capture the energy of all those wings!  Nor the compatibility of humans in awe.





10 thoughts on “Purple Martins & Other Buddhas

  1. I have had the pleasure of seeing such an event with martins twice while visiting family in Nashville, TN. It is an amazing spectacle! Jazz, you did such a great job of describing this scene, I felt I was there. I love the comparison of the unity of the birds and the brief unity of the human onlookers. And the ending – well, that just took my breath away. I am going to share this with my sister-in-law who is always the one in the family to alert us when the martins come through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The human behavior beneath the martins flurry is wonderful. This year a woman probably in her fifties was walking with a preteen girl from car to bookstore, right through the martins … neither of them knew what was going on, yet both were stopped in their tracks, awe all over their faces, the woman waving her hands in all directions. We told them a little about the martins and while standing there, a tiny little feather floated down into the woman’s extended hand. She almost cried, so moved by it.


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