About Purple Martins
Purple Martins are the most prominent members of the Swallow family in North America. Regardless of their name, these species are not adequately purple. They have dark blackish-blue feathers, leading to a navy blue to bright blue
or deep purple appearance.
Purple Martins are among the largest well-appreciated songbirds for many reasons; their aerial acrobatics, chattering song, insect-eating habits, and understanding of humans.
According to the American Bird Survey, their population decreased by nearly 1% every year between 1966 and 2015, a total drop of 37%. Unfortunately, They are dependent on us for their continuation.
Whether you are an experienced Purple Martin keeper or just beginning, there’s always something different and appealing to learn about Martins.
About Purple Martin Bird Houses
One of the most reliable ways to invite purple martins and experience these lovely Swallows in your yard is by making suitable Purple Martin houses.
In the eastern United States, these species are almost completely dependent on artificial nesting places, but it can be a little tricky about which sites they prefer to nest, like other birds.
The most comfortable houses will not simply invite these birds, but their relevant construction will also help prevent natives from bad weather and predators.
Tips for Purple Martin Houses
To make the ablest bird house for Purple Martins and assure they utilize the house properly:
● Paint houses white for proper heat reflection and to draw Purple Martins more comfortably.
● Make sure wooden bird houses have walls of a minimum of 3/4-inch thick for enough insulation.
● Attach an insulation layer to the roof of homes to improve internal temperatures.
● Avoid Purple Martin bird house plans that involve entrance perches, as these will solely provide predators easy access.
● Ensure that each compartment has enough ventilation and drainage holes.
● Make use of pole baffles to prevent predators such as raccoons, snakes, and cats.
● Attach door plugs to every section to block winter roosting and early access of Sparrows and Starlings.
● If necessary, use a locking mechanism on the pole to prevent it from twisting in the wind.
● Prefer telescoping poles that can be lowered and raised comfortably for periodic house checks.
Size of Purple Martin Bird Houses
The bird house dimensions are among the most critical factors in creating a proper place for a bird species.
If the area is too short, adult birds may face difficulties while entering or exiting, and nest development could also lead to smothering due to inadequate space.
However, a too-large house gives predators more accessible opportunities to destroy nesting birds, and extensive unwanted birds may use the place to nest instead.
The most suitable dimensions for Purple Martin houses are:
It will be perfect if the entrance hole diameter is between 1 3/4 and 2 1/4 inches. Entree holes containing 2 1/8 inches are the most suitable ones for Martins. You can also go with crescent-shaped holes as they prevent other birds from entering the houses.
The access hole to the home should be one inch over the floor. A downside hole will not give enough protection from weather and predators, and baby birds could easily way out of the hole. A higher opening will be highly tricky for parent songbirds to enter and exit while serving juveniles.
Interior Floor Area
The interior floor’s least space should be 6/6 inches, though slightly more spacious homes are also decent and may be more suitable for extensive herds.
The interior height of the habitation should vary from 5 to 7 inches to accommodate adequate space and airing for all the birds. If following gourd Purple Martin bird houses, the internal height should be 8 inches to satisfy the house’s unique shape and higher tapering.
Porches are not essential on Purple Martin bird houses, but if practiced, their width should be 4 inches to enable birds to move freely. If the porch uses railing as a decorative accent, its height should not be longer than 5/8-inch, or it may trap birds underneath it.
Purple Martin Bird House Maintenance
Being a Purple Martin house owner means you have the responsibility to ensure the birds are well and secure from any parasites or predators. The safest method to do this is regularly monitoring the birds and cleaning the houses every autumn. Here’s how.
Before we head to the house for regular cleaning, it’s essential to install your Swallow house accurately. As you have to perform routine maintenance, install your house on a telescopic pole to make it more accessible or use a pulley system to draw the house quickly down for weekly surveys.
Be Careful of Competitors
Pest species like European Starlings or House Sparrows like nesting in Purple Martin houses.
Suppose you establish up your Martin house long before the beginning of the nesting period, which differs depending on your area. In that situation, it has a great chance to be resided by these pest birds.
Once you finish Purple Martin house and start noticing them getting around your field, it’s still important to do periodic checks to ensure no other birds have taken over habitation.
If Starlings persist being an obstacle, you can order starling-resistant holes to block them out. You may also need to close the home’s access gates temporarily if other birds continue to grab over the Martin’s residing site.
Regularly Check for Parasites
Being a Purple Martin caretaker is a delightful and pleasant experience, but it does need a little effort during the breeding period. Every week, you should take down the nest and peek within to ensure everything is well.
Don’t worry if the martins get disturbed as they are not afraid easily of people. When you stare inside, check if any parasites are lurking. Larvae, blood-sucking parasites, and other critters could trouble the birds.
Clean Houses of Purple Martin Every Fall
At the start of Autumn, it’s an excellent opportunity to take down your bird house kits for proper sanitation and block other birds from seizing over.
Primarily, move all the nesting stuff from the house and rub off every debris from the sides of the wall. Next, use a cleansing solution such as Purple Martin house cleaner and clean the outside area and inside of every hole.
Once it’s thoroughly washed out, please keep it in sunlight for a day or two until it’s dry. At this time, you can close up the holes and put them until next season.
Building or Buying Purple Martin Bird Houses
A Purple Martin bird house is very distinct from other birds as they nest in colonies. Depending on your need to draw birds, you must construct them on multiple levels.
These bird nesting sites are typically round and possess a guarding roof as well. You can also attach some gourds in a bunch. It will improve your odds of receiving some Purple Martins!
Plans for Houses
Purple Martins prefer two kinds of bird houses:
- Single structures with many sections
As these are friendly birds, they frequently nest in groups of dozens or numbers of mated partners.
Single structured “apartment” houses highlight many paths leading to adjacent rooms and can accommodate multiple pairs of Purple Martins in a little space.
- Individual homes designed in a cluster
You can place clustered designs of many, even dozens, of different bird houses collectively to build a solid nesting colony.
The most common style for a Purple Martin bird house is a hollow gourd. These gourds are elegant, properly sized, and aligned for the Martins.
You can use natural gourds that have been dried and treated. Several makers also provide plastic gourd-shaped houses ideal for Martins.
Purple Martin Nests in Bird Houses
Previously, Purple Martins used to nest in old Woodpecker holes, natural tree hollows, and cliff crevices near water in most parts of America. Still, the martins continue to do so, but in the West, mainly in saguaro cacti.
However, in the US’s eastern half, these birds nest almost completely in artificial boxes. United States natives started this tradition thousands of years ago and continues today. This is necessary for the Martins’ survival.
In the Midwest, Martins start to appear as soon as March starts on the Northern part of the range. Then the hunt for a proper home begins. Nests usually consist of twigs and grasses, with fresh green leaves inserted throughout the fall.
The female incubates nearly three to six white eggs in 15 to 16 days. Both parents support and serve the junior, which fledges in around 30 days. The infants then urge their parents for food for some more weeks.
You can set goals to bird-watch for these Martin’s after you have placed your bird house in your backyard and record your results.