Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Storm of Birds

Each year about this time a spectacular event occurs.

(click any image to bigafy)

Purple martins prepare to migrate south to Brazil for the winter, amassing in incredible numbers, with tens of thousands of birds gathering along the Maurice River in southern New Jersey. The numbers vary year to year, but between 65,000 to 100,000 birds congregate here each August.

The birds come to roost in the reeds along the river, gathering just after sunset. (Thus the purple sunset sky in these images.) ((Kind of appropriate, huh?)) The birds fly in from all directions, with thousands upon thousands flying directly overhead. Wondrous.

The photos do not do the phenomena justice. It sounds cliche, but it really is one of those things you have to see to truly appreciate. The lens I was using has a 12° field of view. So multiply by thirty to get the full sky view. Yep, that's a lot of birds.


And if you are in New Jersey you can see it. Next weekend (August 13 and 14, 2010), Citizens United to Protect the Maurice River and its Tributaries is hosting the annual Purple Martin Festival in Cumberland County New Jersey. If you can, you should go.


Ron a.k.a. Danudin said...

Did you check for a little fat guy always in Profile? I think I have seen this Movie!

Chesney said...

I feel like I am in the movie "The Birds" there are hundreds of them...what a sight!

Susan Gets Native said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Steve, The photographs of the purple martins are amazing. I am really surprised that they are migrating so early in the year - but then they do have to travel all the way to Brazil!

Anonymous said...

I can't even imagine what that looks like in person. Thanks for sharing the shots and the information.

Anonymous said...

How amazing! I would love to see such a sight.