To the untrained eye, the swarm of birds circling over the old Highland Mall in North Austin might be mistaken for a flock of the much maligned and often pesky grackle. On the contrary, these are Purple Martins coming to roost in the trees around the north side of the shopping mall. The dark birds with a purplish iridescence, distinctive tapered wings, and forked tails are known for their voracious appetite for mosquitos and other bugs. It’s like a bat emergence in reverse. Look for them between 8pm and dark, July to mid-August before they head for winter vacation in South America. Want to know more? Contact our local Audubon Society.