Purple Martins

Ever wonder what these are? 

You may have noticed the strange looking towers in the picture above while at Walt Disney World. You also might not have ever noticed them, but you should. Many people have no idea what they are. These strange shapes are nests for the Purple Martin birds.

Purple Martins are part of the swallow family. Each spring, they travel from the rain forests in Brazil to Walt Disney World. That’s over 6,000 miles! In those strange nests they will lay their eggs. Cast Members will check on them and make sure that the adults and the young are healthy.

I’ve been told by a Disney Conservation Cast Member that originally the nests were decorative. Disney thought that they would be good for atmosphere. The Purple Martins had other ideas, and they decided to call Walt Disney World home; at least for part of the year.

Purple Martin eggs 

There are 20 different spots on Walt Disney World property with homes for the Purple Martins. That comes out to 460 nests. That’s a lot of birds to keep an eye on each year, but the Cast Members take great pride in watching over the birds.

Of course the Purple Martins do help out at Walt Disney World as well. They eat mosquitos. Have you ever been bitten by a mosquito at Walt Disney World? I haven’t, and I’ve lived in the area for more than a decade! Disney prefers natural methods of pest control, and Purple Martins are part of the solution.

If you’re looking for the tower nests for Purple Martins, one of the best places to see them is at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. You don’t even have to enter the park, there is a row of nests to the left before you enter the park. The two pictures here are from Epcot. They are from a media event two years ago, you won’t normally be able to see the eggs.

There is so much that goes on behind the scenes that most of us will never know about. The Purple Martins fall into that category. The next time you want to complain about a three hour flight to Walt Disney World, think about their 6,000 mile voyage. That might make the trip there seem a little bit simpler.