Lewisville and the Purple Martins

Print

The city logo features the purple outline of a bird inspired by the Purple Martin, a protected migratory songbird.

Lewisville is home to the largest Purple Martin roost in North Texas and one of the largest in the state. It is estimated that more than 50,000 birds return each year to Lewisville, arriving in late February or early March and staying for six months to build nests, raise their young and prepare for their non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico to their winter home in Brazil. 

The birds make their temporary homes across Lewisville and surrounding areas, favoring manmade homes in populated areas, especially those near a stable water source such as Lewisville Lake. Many area residents erect martin houses in order to attract these graceful visitors. The city already has martin houses at local parks, but this is the first time houses have been placed at an occupied city facility.

When egg-laying season begins, the Purple Martins form a single roosting area near Main Street and Civic Circle. The roost can start in the second half of July and last into the early part of September, depending on weather conditions and food supply. Hundreds of bird-lovers visit Lewisville each year near sunset to view the roost and watch the aerial acrobatics of the Purple Martins.

Map to Lewisville's purple martin roost

Two multi-story Purple Martin houses are located on the grounds of Lewisville City Hall, three large martin houses are located at Fred Herring Recreation Center, and similar houses have been installed in several city parks.

Martin House 01

Purple Martin Landlords of North Texas is a regional association of bird-lovers who care for Purple Martins at their own homes and regularly visit Lewisville to view the local roost. Landlords member Kenny Crawford worked with City Cable LVTV to create a brief video showing how to build a martin house and attract Purple Martins. [WATCH VIDEO HERE]
 

 Purple Martin Fun Facts:  
  • They are the only domesticated free-flying songbird in the United States. Purple Martins prefer to live in manmade homes in close proximity to humans (often referred to as “Purple Martin Landlords”).
  • They are a federally protected migratory songbird, found seasonally from Florida to Texas.
  • Purple Martins eat on the fly, consuming hundreds of insects per day.
  • They are considered “clean birds” with a high visual appeal.
  • They are very fast, agile and noted for their “aerial acrobatics.”
  • Their “hello” call is a promising and happy “Cheer-Cheer.”
  • Their rich history dates back 12,000 years. Native Americans discovered that martins could be lured into their villages by hanging up gourds with holes cut in the sides.
  • Importantly, the Purple Martin population is only 10% of what it was in the 1930’s, but has increased in Lewisville during the past 20 years.
 

Newspaper coverage of Lewisville's purple martins:

Dallas Morning News - 3/03/2009

Lewisville Leader - 2/28/2009

NeighborsGo - 3/06/2009

 

 

Free viewers are required for some of the attached documents.
They can be downloaded by clicking on the icons below.

Acrobat Reader Flash Player QuickTime Windows Media Player Microsoft Silverlight Word Viewer Excel Viewer PowerPoint Viewer