Couple Sees Their First Purple Martin Neighbors of the Season

For the Bayou Region bird watchers, now’s the time to keep eyes peeled for Purple Martins. One local just had four move in.


Most mornings, Judy Robichaux sits on the porch overlooking her bird feeders to view cardinals and bluejays feasting on a breakfast of seed. Yesterday, February 11, she was surprised to find Purple Martins moving in at 8:30am. She said by August they’d leave until next year.


“When they’re training the babies how to fly, it’s really nice to watch them.” said Robichaux.

Robichaux said she was always an outdoors person, but began calling herself a birdwatcher three years ago when she began learning the many species. A friend introduced her to the Terrebonne Birdwatchers Club. From there, she found tools like eBird, an app, to help her learn.


“You can post which birds you see and they also use it to track birds,” Robichaux said.  “So, like everyone can be a backyard scientist.”


She explained that most bird watchers kept a list, which she did on the app, that allowed watchers to keep track of each species they saw.


“Most birders that like to do it keep a list,” she said. “And you always try to add to your list.”

“They call it a ‘lifer’ when you see something that you never saw before,” Robichaux said.”You add it to your ‘life-list.'”


As she spoke, hundreds of birds  – Black Birds, Starlings, and others – descended on her back yard, returning from a short rainfall to search the grass.


The Purple Martins returned as well. They circled the three birdhouses – hand-crafted prime avian real estate.


“Sometimes the Starlings try to take over, but when the Martins come, they chase them out,” she explained.


Robichaux’s husband, Carol Robichaux, who she affectionately called a “closet bird watcher,” drove up. His truck slowly drove up the gravel road and dusted up a cloud of Black Birds that moved from the bird feeder to join those in the back.


Judy Robichaux said he handcrafted the 15 room birdhouse at the center of the pole. To each side of it were smaller buildings each housing six holes on each side. She and Carol said the one built was an “apartment.”


The two grew silent as they watched the bird activity pick up. The two would only chime up when they pointed as a bird flew by.


“There’s another one coming in right now look” said Judy.