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Lewisville and the Purple Martins


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

Purple Martins are one of America's favorite birds and are the largest North American swallow. They are one of the earliest neotropical migratory birds to return to the United States each year. 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. 

Purple Martins are aerial insectivores that do most of their feeding at 100– 200 feet above the ground. Their diet is almost 100 percent flying insects, and they opportunistically feed on flying ants, beetles, butterflies, cicadas, damselflies, dragonflies, (drone) bees, flies, grasshoppers, hoverflies, katydids, mayflies, midges, mosquitoes, moths, stinkbugs and wasps. 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 to attract these graceful visitors. The city also has martin houses in several local parks,

At the height of summer in July, Texas martins gather in huge pre-migratory roosts at night in preparation for fall migration. Some contain tens of thousands of birds and Lewisville was once home to the largest Purple Martin roost in North Texas and one of the largest in the state. This roost split a few years ago with some moving from central Lewisville to the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area (LLELA) and the rest moving to the Garland area.

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



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