Purple Martins Return to Roost
martins are beginning to return to their roost at the west end of the
old Manns Harbor bridge. By the end of July the number of birds at the
site is expected to be close to 100,000.
the roosting season, N.C. Department of Transportation activates
flashing lights and a 20 mph speed limit on the west end of the bridge
at sunrise and sunset. The reduced speed limit, monitored by law
enforcement, allows safe travel for both motorists and birds.
newer Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge is an alternative route between
Manns Harbor and Roanoke Island during the hours the birds are active.
this annual natural phenomenon, martins swarm the bridge in flocks so
large they are seen by Doppler radar. Martins who have raised their
young during the spring in colonies managed by humans come here from as
far away as 150 miles. The birds roost at the bridge to protect their
newly fledged young and prepare for their journey to Brazil in late
summer. The birds roost under the bridge at night, leave at sunrise to
fly over the coastal plan to feed during the day, then return at sunset.
Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society will conduct educational
experiences at the west end of the bridge and aboard the Crystal Dawn
headboat. Bridge talks will take place at sunset Thursdays and
Saturdays on July 20, July 22, July 27 and July 29. For more
information, visit www.purplemartinroost.com, send e-mail to [email protected] or call 252-473-1493.
cruises aboard the Crystal Dawn are set for Thursdays and Saturdays on
July 20, July 22, July 27 and July 29. Tickets are $30 per person. The
tour leaves from Pirates Cove Marina between Nags Head and Manteo at 7
p.m. and returns at approximately 9:30 p.m. Feel free to bring
binoculars and your own picnic. If cancelled for weather or low
reservations, tickets are refunded. For tickets and more information,
contact Crystal Dawn at 252-473-5577 or www.crystaldawnheadboat.com