Where Do Purple Martins Hatch Their Eggs?

Where Do Purple Martins Hatch Their Eggs?
While not endangered, Purple Martins are a bird species under threat. The largest member of the swallow family in North America, the species is largely dependent on humans to provide nests to lay and hatch its eggs, but even those nests can be invaded by other birds.


Purple Martins are migratory birds, with the range of their migration pattern extending from northern Argentina at the south extreme to a wide band stretching across southern Canada at the north extreme. Depending on the time of year (see Time Frame), they can be found at most points in between.


Why Migrate?

The migration of the Purple Martins is tied up in their reproductive cycle, and they come to North America to nest and lay eggs. However, they do not always return to the same nesting site each year, and may move if they find something unsatisfactory about an old site.

Nesting Sites

East of the Rocky Mountains, Purple Martins are entirely dependent on bird houses and other forms of human construction. West of the Rockies, they are attracted to abandoned woodpecker nests, gourds and bird houses.

Driven Out

The main reason a Purple Martin will not return to an established nesting site is because it has been occupied by another species. Starlings and sparrows sometimes beat Purple Martins back to their established colonies, stake a claim and drive off the martins.

Good Bird House

A good Purple Martin house is painted white or a light color to create a cooler interior. The box should be 7 inches wide, 12 inches long, and 5 to 7 inches tall, with a 2-inch-wide entrance hole about 1 inch off the floor.

Time Frame

In North America, Purple Martins do not make their first appearance in Florida until around Jan. 15. By mid-March, they will be in a band stretching from the Chesapeake to Kansas, and they reach their northern extremes by early May.


Article Written By Edwin Thomas

Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.

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