Purple martins are migratory birds so it is common for some landlords to get a bit anxious when they have purple martins in their area one minute, but then the next they seem to be missing. Where do they go? Why do they sometimes just disappear at night?

Purple martins most frequently roost in their purple martin house units or gourds at night. Depending on how warm the weather is, male purple martins may roost in trees at night.

Let’s look a bit more into what a typical day may look like for a purple martin, so that you may better understand what they are doing while they are waiting on their eggs to hatch.

Majestic Purple Martin Surveys His Territory

The Typical Day for a Purple Martin

In the early morning hours, you may find your purple martins chirping and making beautiful noises. They most frequently will be coming out of their purple martin house units and gourds preparing to hunt insects.

Throughout the day the purple martins will come and go from the purple martin house. In the early season, they are feeding on flying insects but also working on gathering materials for their nests.

If they already have young that have been hatched in the purple martin house, you will find them going most frequently to nearby water areas and prime hunting grounds for flying insects. They will then return to feed their young. Their young eat a LOT of insects, meaning that their coming and going frequently. This is prime time to watch their acrobatic flying in action as they have to work hard to keep the young ones alive!

Purple Martins in the North

If you live in the northern area it can get cold at night. If the young have not hatched, then the females will often go into their purple martin house units or gourds at night to sit on the eggs to keep them warm. Most of the time in northern areas where it may get quite cool at night, the males will be inside the purple martin houses as well.

Purple Martins in the South

For some of those that live in the south, it may be slightly different. There have been reports that males will roost in trees either near the purple martin house or possibly near the hunting grounds where they may find insects. There are some reports that some of the males may hunt throughout the night for themselves as well, but I have not witnessed this personally.

My Experience With My Purple Martins

My experience is that purple martins are quite smart and recognize that they may succumb to predators such as owls if they aren’t careful. Most of my purple martins go into their house units at night. I am located in Oklahoma and we have rather warm evenings throughout the summer months, but I still find them in their compartments at night, both females and males. Sometimes the males can be seen late into the evening sitting on or around the purple martin houses.