Purple Martin Pre-migratory Roost in Jacksonville

Jacksonville is very fortunate to currently have a Purple Martin pre-migratory roost near the Jacksonville Landing on Hogan Street. Purple Martins migrate, but before they do, they gather in large numbers to feed and rest. Flocks are leaving their nesting colonies from various areas to form a large roost that can even be detected on Doppler radar. This is a quite a sight to see! Around 8:30 p.m. you will see them swirling in the sky over the St. Johns River. At dusk, they will begin to roost in the trees along Hogan Street. At sunrise, they will leave, spending the day foraging for food, catching insects in the air.

As board member, Brett Moyer, reported “the birds congregate high in the sky in increasing numbers as sunset approaches. Then, between sunset and last light (about 8:30 to 9:00 PM) they start descending, swooping in large groups, and swerving low and in unison over the heads of pedestrians on the Northbank riverwalk at Hogan Street South. It is a remarkable spectacle.”

The roosting should continue for several weeks until the birds migrate. If you haven’t experienced this phenomenon yet, go to the Jacksonville Riverwalk on Hogan Street at sunset. Take the kids!

Here are a couple of video clips:

Video June 18th 

Video June 24th