Mystery Martin Solved
Martins and families in June, 2000
Mystery bird - possibly a Purple Martin roosting on my martin house on 12 Dec, 2000
Enlargement to show field marks
In December (2000) during a particularly cold spell, a "martin-like" bird appeared on the martin house in my backyard in the late afternoon.  I usually take the house down in the winter, but hadn't got around to it that year. The bird spent the night in one of the front compartments, but was gone later the next morning. Purple Martins normally leave Texas for South America in late July/early August, so was this a juvenile that got "left behind"? I live in south east Texas, near Houston.

It looks about the size of a Purple Martin (8 ins), when you compare it to the martins photographed earlier in June (see photo above right), but I don't recall ever seeing one with the vertical chest band that is visible on this bird. It has the dark bluish head, dark blue wings and grey chest of an immature martin.

Postscript:  Thanks to several people on the Purple Martin Forum , this bird was identified as an adult female Purple Martin, who was most probably very early returning north. The first Purple Martin of the 2001 season was sighted in my area on Feb 13th, 01.

Helen Baines
visitors since 4/30/01
My Purple Martin Colony