Manns Harbor Purple Martin Roost

Look for the Purple Martin’s at the Manns Harbor Purple Martin Roost

Photo Credit: Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society

Photo Credit: Coastal Carolina Purple Martin Society

Did you know that for more than forty years about 100,000 Purple Martins visit the Outer Banks in July and August? You can find them roosting under the William B. Umstead Memorial Bridge which is between Manteo and Mann’s Harbor. The peak season for the birds at the bridge is July to mid-August. The birds arrive from Brazil in February and set up home in Purple Martin Houses. After nesting, some martins may travel up to 150 miles from their breeding colonies to reach this location! Arriving at sunset, they sleep under the bridge. At sunrise they depart to feed for the day, building up fat stores in preparation for their annual 2,600 mile migration back to Brazil.

We like to visit the bridge at dusk when the birds return to their roost. It is amazing to watch all of them return to this one bridge year after year. Be cautious and drive slowly across the bridge as the birds swarm all around the bridge.

Find out more information about Purple Martins and their relationship with the William B. Umstead Memorial Bridge.