The Purple Martins are in Houston gathering by the thousands for the return trip home.
Every year the songbirds migrate from South America to North America in the spring. As summer comes to an end, they gather for the return trip home to South America.
In Houston, the Purple Martins have returned to an area near Willowbrook Plaza. Mary Anne Morris is the education director for the Houston Audubon Society.
"In the past that particular location has hosted half a million Purple Martins," said Morris.
Morris says the Purple Martin population has taken a hit over the past year because of the weather. The high temperatures are often detrimental to the survival of the young birds. Even so, Morris says there could be as many as 300,000 birds to gather before they start to fly home to South America.
"People have described it as a National Geographic moment," said Morris. "Probably at this point there are about 200,000 Purple Martins. Everywhere you look. And they swirl and descend into the trees in kind of a tornado effect or like a hurricane. It's a spectacle.”
The Houston Audubon Society is hosting its first watch party of the year this Saturday so people can see the Purple Martins before they fly back home. Morris says to check their website for details and make sure to bring an umbrella.
"Umbrellas are amazing because that is a lot of birds and they poop a lot," said Morris.