And many regular folks would have greatly benefited from the bird camp - in situations like Sunday when residents of Newtown Barracks were startled by the sighting of a sizeable gathering of birds weighing down power lines. Francisco explained the phenomenon:
Dirk Francisco, Publicity Coordinator - BAS
"The Purple Martins are migrating right now from north to south America. They have just finish breeding North America and they are on the move to winter. When it's cold in America birds migrate south, but Purple Martins are normally one of the earlier migrants that starts moving. They are heading to the Amazon, the Ecuador area, Brazil and they are just going there to spend the winter because of the abundance of food."
"Belize is pass over, Belize is on their route. The Purple Martins tend to fly over land because of the availability of their food. They are insectivores; they are birds that eat insects, so Belize having a lot of insects is used as a route to go further south of the continent."
"This year Belizeans are calling the Belize Audubon Office as king why there are so many Purple Martins flying around? This year the number did seem a bit larger, it is larger than previous years mainly because (I am just guessing here) there might be more insects over Belize. Probably there are mother countries that are using a lot of insecticides because of agriculture and different activities. Belize might have a health population of insects, so the bird just chose to move more. We have had reports of someone seeing between 30,000 - 40,000 Purple Martins."
Francisco says that there is nothing unusual about the sighting and that the Purple Martins simply perched on the electric wires to rest. The migration period for the Purple Martins begins in early July and continues to August.