Purple Martin Arrival Map in North America

Prepare for Purple Martin Migration 

Every year millions of Purple Martins migrate to North America for breeding from their non-breeding sites in South America. It takes them about four to six weeks to travel from Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, British Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana to their preferred breeding locations in the United States and Canada. Scientists believe they travel North to take advantage of longer summer days in northern latitudes for protracted feeding times.

As they travel north it is important to know when to have your gourds and racks set up and to open your Purple Martin houses. The Purple Martin migration map below shows the estimated arrival dates of Purple Martins in different areas around the country. Make sure you’ve got everything in place well in advance of arrival of the first scouts. Keep an eye out daily for their arrival. Be sure to leave entrances closed until you spot that first Purple Martin scout, or other species of birds could take advantage of your Purple Martin gourds and set up their own nests. Be sure set up traps for non-native species of sparrows and starlings or they could invade your Purple Martin colony before your first Martins even arrive. Usually, younger Purple Martins arrive about 4 to 12 weeks after the first adults arrive.


In general, your Purple Martin gourds and houses can attract Purple Martins well into summer so be sure to not take down your gourd racks or bird houses until late August or early September in northerly areas. Fledgling Purple Martins look for housing sites late in the Fall for housing opportunities for the coming year!



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