|Twice a year, some eight million Purple Martins migrate
through southeast Louisiana, the first as a final "refueling" stop
before the long flight to South America, and again as their first chance
to refuel on the way back. A flight for some that can be as long as 8,500
miles. More than 200,000 of these spectacular birds have adopted the
under-structure of the southern end of Lake Pontchartrain Causewayas their evening roosting area during the spring and summer
months. At dusk each evening, the swallows swoop and dance, sing and
provide a natural, breathtaking spectacle.
Scientists at Louisiana State University estimate that more than fifty percent of all North America's migratory birds pass through this area, the center of the great Mississippi River Flyway, twice a year. As more and more enroute habitat is lost to development, a Sanctuary at this point becomes even more important.
During the summer there were as many as 3,000 spectators each evening along the Lake shoreline near the Causeway; an event which has created demands for crowd control, safety measures, more adequate viewing space and facilities for protecting, caring for, and explaining the phenomenon of the birds. Project Swallow initiated the "Save the Swallows" program which enlisted the help of the Causeway Management to erect 6,700 feet of fencing to eliminate collisions between automobiles and birds at both ends of the Causeway. Prior to this construction, it was estimated that 12,000 birds per year were being killed by automobiles.
A refuge at the south end of the Causeway will accomplish three
things: assist Purple
Martins, heighten man's awareness of wildlife, and provide a
long-term, environmental conscious solution for the lack of wildlife and
avian habitat along the lake shoreline.
The project has received great public support. Not only from the crowds of spectators, some evenings numbering as many as 3,000, but from national organizations and state and local governments. It is a family oriented, tourist and educational attraction offering the public a unique opportunity to appreciate and enjoy nature.
It is economically beneficial and it will create a world class bird Sanctuaryon the edge of the largest fresh-water estuary in the world at the base of the longest bridge in the world.
|If you want to help, write us at: Project Swallow, P.O. Box 7066, Metairie, LA USA 70010-7066|
Copyright by NWR -- This page last updated September, 2002
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