Purple Martin Air Force

Purple martins do aerial maneuvers as I mow.

by Joe Mudd on June 25, 2011

Squadron Leader: “Attack Group 1 – “Red alert! I repeat, red alert! Form up on my tail, we’re making a frontal assault”

Purple Wing One: “Roger Squadron Leader. Purple Wing One forming on the right.”

Purple Wing Two: “Purple Wing Two forming on your left wing, over.”

Squadron Leader: “Attack Group 2 – form up on Purple Leader and attack from the rear. Come in low, then swoop high at ear level. Use caution around the grass discharge – it can wash you out.”

Purple Leader: “Ready for the rear attack Squadron Leader.”

Squadron Leader: “On my mark… Attack!”

This little scene has been playing out in my yard ever time I mow grass this summer.

I’ve been mowing the lawn here for nearly three decades now, and I never saw a purple martin before last year.

Last summer they would come out and attack me as I mowed down the hill in back of our house.

This year they’re everywhere. They still patrol out along the back yard, but they now also show up around the garden and out in the front by the old garage.

They do aerial maneuvers around me, often as many as 10 zipping past, in front and over me as I ride the lawn mower. They put on quite a show.

Sometimes there will be two or three flying in tight formation across my path, like the air show for Thunder Over Louisville. Or they might come right at me, pulling up at the last second, flashing that yellow underbelly in my face. They do crisscross flights all around me. One came right past my left ear the other day.

I have no idea where they came from – there are no martin houses anywhere close. They just showed up last summer.

I’m sure many would see this as a sign. Richard using these birds to say hi.

It could be. I don’t know. I’m not too good with this sign business. I think you need to have a strong connection to your right brain, the half that does all the artsy and emotional processing, to really grasp signs from the spirit world.

I sort of pushed that side of my brain into the back closet when I decided I was going to be an engineer. I only need that logical left side to do that stuff.

So I have no way of knowing if the purple martins are Richard saying “Hi dad.”

It’s a nice thought.

And the martins are entertaining.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Roger Reynolds November 13, 2012 at 9:51 am

There’s a really cool art thing going on in Richmond called the Purple Martin Project (I think…you’ll have to Google it) and your story made me think of it.

In case you’re interested, they’re probably not attacking you but taking advantage of all the scrumptious insects you’re scaring up with the mower. I worked at a parks dept. years ago and the swallows put on quite a show for us.

Thanks again for sharing your story.

Here’s a link to our latest blog if you were interested in reading or sharing.


Take care,
Roger Reynolds
CJ’s Daddy


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