Field Notes: PURPLE MARTIN
Purple Martin are the largest swallow in North America. The male is entirely dark metallic blue with some black. The female is more like other swallows, being colored on the head and back but having a lighter underside. She is blue with patches of gray. They are fairly common and often nest in bird houses called martin houses, built for entire communities of Purple Martins.
I had been watching Purple Martins for a long while without realizing what they were. I knew they were swallows, but didn’t realize what kind. I watch them flying and feeding in the same area as Tree Swallows, Barn Swallows, and Northern Rough-winged Swallows. Its at an inlet where water from the nearby bay flows in and out of a tidal wetlands area. They swoop around in circles, then land and feed and mate on the ground. I enjoy spending time in their area, trying to capture photos of all these fast little birds. The completely dark male Purple Martin stand out amongst all the other swallows.