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Walt Disney World® Golf is Proud to Welcome Back Purple Martins for their 2024 Nesting Season!

You may already be aware, that for many years, the Walt Disney World® Golf courses have been certified by Audubon International as Cooperative Wildlife Sanctuaries. We take great pride in this accomplishment, as part of our commitment to and stewardship of environmental sensitivity at our facilities.

What you may not be aware of is that our golf courses have also been an integral part of a multi-site Central Florida program to provide nesting infrastructure for Purple Martins as they migrate north from South America each year. The primary goal of this extensive program is to understand the migration and nesting habits of the Purple Martins and to reverse their decline in the Central Florida area.

purple martins

Purple Martins are the largest members of the Swallow family and are considered a “Watch List” species. They annually migrate several thousand miles from Brazil in South America through Central America and across the Gulf of Mexico, typically arriving here in Central Florida in January and February.

As a part of our commitment to this program, we previously installed Purple Martin nesting facilities at Disney's Magnolia Golf Course, one of which is seen in the photo below. These structures provide nesting locations for the Purple Martins as they arrive here. There are also clusters of Purple Martin nests elsewhere around the Walt Disney World® Resort.


The birds will begin to nest upon arrival, and trained conservationists from Disney’s Animal Kingdom will visit us to engage in routine scheduled checks of the nests, and periodic bird counts to monitor the progress of the new residents and count their eggs. The nesting compartments are on cabled mechanisms that allow them to be lowered and raised, and there are side caps on the nests that allow access for visual observations. Some of the Purple Martins may be tagged with GPS transmitters or other identification tags from prior interactions with research staff.

During the 2023 migration season, there were roughly 300 nesting attempts around the Walt Disney World® Resort, with over 1,100 chicks hatched, which was an all-time record for our program! Over 270 chicks were banded during this previous season to aid in future research and identification. Different Central Florida locations use their own band color, to enable future research on where Purple Martins go when they return to the area to breed.

Once the breeding cycle is completed and the newly hatched Purple Martins are mature enough to fly long distances, they will begin their migration back to South America in June to July. As part of their preparations for the return to South America, they will leave the Central Florida area and spend a period roosting in the mangrove islands off the west Central Florida coast.

This is an exciting part of what we do at Walt Disney World® Golf and we hope that you can observe the activity of the Purple Martins at Disney's Magnolia Golf Course when you join us in the coming months!

We look forward to welcoming you to the "Happiest Place on TURF!"