Local News

Jul 14, 2013 10:48 PM by Matt Terhune

Purple Martin Birds Are Being Tracked

CORPUS CHRISTI- Have you ever wondered where certain birds are headed and what affects their migration? Well John Barrow is helping with the research of Purple Martin birds.

He says, "There is a decline in song birds and this enables us to have a day to day picture of where they're out and what areas need to be protected."

John has put an orange tag on the right leg of some birds. It makes it easier to see that's a bird he's given a "backpack". The "backpacks" are the geolocator.

John Barrow says, "Basically we've learned how fast they migrate. Much faster than we thought. We learned that they migrate north to breed, faster than they migrate South to Winter."

The geolocators are $225 each and he's put one on 25 birds this year.

Purple Martin conservation association will learn how purple martin birds react to drought, hurricanes, and strong cold fronts.

John is using up to 8-thousand worms a week at the peak of this nesting season to feed the birds.

"The adult birds will probably won't eat them, but they'll feed their young."

John Barrow has 48 bird homes that the birds with backpacks on them will leave from in August then come home to here in April.

"We've had no birds that we've tracked go to the same place. We've had birds that meet birds from Pennsylvania and Alberta, but none of our own that go to the same place."

If you'd like to help and follow along with the research of Purple Martin birds. Check out purplemartin.org.


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