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Thousands of purple birds swarm Outer Banks bridge. [...]
#1
North Carolina Thousands of purple birds swarm Outer Banks bridge. NC lowers speed limit to protect them North Carolina
 July 26, 2018 by Abbie Bennett, The News & Observer (Raleigh, N.C.)
Thousands of visitors cross the William B. Umstead Memorial Bridge—known locally as Old Manns Harbor Bridge—on their way to Roanoke Island and the Outer Banks every year. But from mid-July through August, thousands of avian tourists visit the bridge, too.

Each year, thousands of shiny songbirds—[P]urple [M]artins—choose to roost under the bridge, creating a potential hazard for both birds and people.

The NCDOT has established a special 20 mph speed limit zone and set up flashing lights at the bridge to protect the more than 100,000 birds that roost under its west end, especially since the birds tend to commute at the same time people do—in the morning and evening. The bridge speed limit is normally 55 mph.

"LOW FLYING BIRDS. SPEED LIMIT 20 WHEN FLASHING. DUSK AND DAWN," the DOT signs before the bridge read.The William B. Umstead Memorial Bridge carries the two-lane U.S. Highway 64 over the Croatan Sound between Manns Harbor and Roanoke Island in Dare County.

Drivers who want to avoid the birds can instead travel across using the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge.

The martins annually migrate to Brazil, and make a pit stop in North Carolina during the summer. The birds roost under the bridge at night and depart at dawn to feed, according to DOT.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2018-07-thousands-...r.html#jCp
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#2
Sounds like a spectacular sight. Pity the article doesn't have a picture to show it :'( .
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UPDATE!!!

 A Biologist's Bittersweet Return to See the Birds She Helped Save
By Shweta Karikehalli
September 07, 2018

[Image: web_012_080218_purplemartins_eq_26.jpg?itok=qD5Vt89q]
Cars slowly cross the William B. Umstead Memorial Bridge on the Croatan Sound near the Coast of North Carolina as thousands of Purple Martins return to roost for the night. Photo: Eamon Queeney

 Alisa Esposito made it her mission to protect Purple Martins from deadly collisions on a North Carolina bridge. When personal tragedy struck, the birds helped her through the ordeal.

As the sun was setting in North Carolina’s North Carolina Outer Banks one summer evening in 2001, Alisa Esposito and her husband, Christopher Lucash, zipped along with the traffic heading over the William B. Umstead bridge, where the speed limit was 55 mph. Suddenly a mass of birds swarmed over the two-lane span, and the pair watched in horror as a van in front of them drove full speed into the flock. 

Esposito and Lucash pulled over to inspect the casualties. “Every set of headlights that would go by would throw more birds at our feet,” she recalls.

Each dead or injured bird they saw was a Purple Martin. Esposito and Lucash, both wildlife biologists who had moved to the area two years earlier, had a soft spot for the birds. When they had moved into their home in Columbia :columbia:, they’d found a Purple Martin box a previous owner had left in the backyard. Lucash fixed it up, and the indigo-hued birds took up residence in the spring of 2000.

Read more: https://www.audubon.org/news/a-biologist...elped-save
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