Purple Martins Are My Favorite
Photo from Thayer's Birds of North America CD
Purple Martins are colony nesters. Twenty or more families will raise young together in a very compact area. Special Purple Martin houses that look like small hotels are available. In eastern North America, Purple Martins now nest exclusively in housing provided by humans.
Purple Martin House
The Indians attracted Purple Martins using hollow gourds hung near each other. Indians liked the Purple Martins because they functioned as "scarecrows". They drove away Crows from cornfields and Vultures from meat and hides hung out to dry.
Purple Martins rarely eat mosquitoes -- and certainly not 2,000 per day!! That is a myth started years ago by a Purple Martin house manufacturer. If you want to get rid of mosquitoes, attract bats to your property by installing a bat house.
Purple Martins like their house to be in a very open spot, at least 50-100 feet from human housing. The Martin house should be 10-20 feet off the ground.
Open up a new Martin house about four weeks AFTER the first Purple Martin arrives in your area. Keep it open until at least the end of June. If Martins nested last year, open your house when the first Martins perch on the roof.
Martins seem to be attracted to white houses. This color will also keep nestlings cooler.
If Sparrows or Starlings start to build in the Martin House, lower the house and remove the nest material. You may need to do this several times.
For more information, try the Purple Martin Conservation Association.
Email us your favorite Purple Martin photos and stories!