People love Purple Martins because the birds eat mosquitoes. Clearly that’s not all they eat — in fact, they eat far fewer mosquitoes than people think . Usually their prey is much larger.
Last week, while attending a banding event at Sherwood Island State Park, I watched as the busy adult Purple Martins flew around and perched at the gourd colony. Without question, the main meal on the menu for these martins was dragonflies. Dragonflies are known as superb fliers and hunters of mosquitoes themselves, but they were no match for these determined Purple Martin parents. Some of the martins even brought back small butterflies to eat.