Native Americans relate how the purple martin reappears annually around the time of the vernal equinox and our Easter celebration. Martins are members of the swallow family. When the Native Americans observed that hollow gourds provided select nesting sites near their villages and, in turn, the birds greatly reduced pesky insect populations, they quickly became recognized as favored and welcome heroes
The purple martin is a remarkable bird, its scouts appear to be the older, more-experienced birds leading the way, checking out potential nesting sites. After wintering in South America and Brazil and winging over thousands of miles of jungle, desert, mountains and open ocean they arrive at their nesting sites. The female and young survivors of this transcontinental travel are eager to set up housekeeping.
Cheerful in voice, uttering rich, liquid song and loud contented chirping of too-too, there is one minor problem, despite all their valiant virtues, these same swift swallows inevitably depart our area toward their summering grounds about the time the local bloodsucking insect problem peaks.
We associate this season with the Easter rabbit that produces a multitude of eggs, symbolic of fertility and resurrection. The early inhabitants of this land saw the symbol of spring in the little bird that signals the reawakening of Nature’s ways.