Thursday, August 26, 2010

Freaky Birds

Some people know my weird fear of birds. I don't like anything about them. I don't like the sound their wings make when flying or the unpredictability of their actions (at any moment they could swoop down and peck your eyes out or poop on you). In open skies, I'm not as freaked out, but in enclosed spaces like inside a big warehouse type store or a bird show, I am not a fan. Chuck always tells me that I can not push my fears onto my children, so I agree to go to things like I'm about to tell you.

We read in the paper about a Purple Martin Roost in downtown Richmond.

In August, a flock of purple martin birds gather in a small group of trees in downtown Richmond before migrating to Brazil for the winter. They were first noticed a few years ago and now the number of birds keeps rising. The reported number of birds ranged from 4,000 to 16,000 each night. It was unbelievable! It's one of these events you have to see with your own eyes to believe. What's crazy is that they have chosen a row of about 8-10 trees in downtown close to the interstate to gather. Why in the world are these trees so attractive to these birds?

The birds gather every single night at dusk (around 8:00 p.m.) for about a month. First, they gather in the sky, circling around, until groups of a few hundred dive/swoop down into the trees. This continues until all the birds are in the trees for the night. Apparently, one night some hawks attacked the purple martins. That would have been awesome nature in progress to witness (and a few less birds in the world).

On that evening, bird experts said there were about 14,000 birds. This gathering in the sky and diving into the trees lasted about 30 minutes. The under 2 min video below shows some of the action. Be sure to watch it until the end to see how loud the birds are in the trees.

It was insane! One of the craziest phenomenons I have ever witnessed. I've had friends have a similar thing happen on a smaller scale in their neighborhood. Check out here and here.


  1. That is so crazy! It reminds me of the bats in Austin, TX. I am proud of you for overcoming your fear for your children. So who is the 4th little girl in the photo?

  2. Are they still up in those trees? I wanna go! So crazy!