How to Attract Purple Martins

How to Attract Purple Martins
Purple martins are North American swallows, which live almost solely in birdhouses and gourds provided for them by landowners in the eastern half of the United States. To attract purple martins to your property you must take care to place homes for them in spots which will appeal to the birds. You must also fulfill certain requirements with these houses to increase your chances of attracting this species.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

How to Attract Purple Martins

Things You’ll Need:
  • Purple martin birdhouses with Starling Resistant Entrance Holes Telescoping mounting poles Predator guards White paint Troyer S&S Controller
  • Purple martin birdhouses with Starling Resistant Entrance Holes
  • Telescoping mounting poles
  • Predator guards
  • White paint
  • Troyer S&S Controller
 
Step 1
Locate your martin houses within close proximity to human activity. Martins are a species of bird that actually thrives on human company. Houses erected within 30 to 60 feet of your own home are ideal, but those within 100 feet can still garner the bird's attention.
Step 2
Avoid placing martin houses where tall trees are close by. Martins need open space to fly in; they prefer to fly over terrain such as pastures, ball fields, meadows and lawns. Inability to fly freely will discourage the birds from nesting in your boxes. One good rule of thumb is to keep a martin house as many feet away from a tree as the tree is tall to give the birds the amount of space they desire.
Step 3
Place your martin houses between 12 and 20 feet high. These homes can be equipped with telescoping poles to support them or with cranks, which can raise and lower the house.
Step 4
Equip your martin home with a predator guard. Snakes, cats, raccoons and other creatures can gain access to a martin home by using the pole to crawl up. A predator guard on the pole can keep this from occurring and makes the martins feel safe.
Step 5
Paint your purple martin homes white. This serves a dual purpose: The white paint reflects away hot sunlight in the summer and keeps the interior of the martin house cool; it also makes the opening into the house more visible.
Step 6
Purchase birdhouses or gourds with Starling Resistant Entrance Holes. Martins will not nest where they must compete for nesting sites, and European starlings and house sparrows are the biggest threat to take over their homes. These birds, which are not native to the U.S., should be discouraged from using martin homes as nesting sites since they will attack martins and kill their young. To keep competitors under control, purchase a device called a Troyer S&S Controller, which is a bird trap disguised as a martin house. This enables you to capture undesirable birds and then dispose of them.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Martins like the company of other martins and will gladly occupy tenement-type birdhouses that have as many as 24 separate housing compartments. The Purple Martin Conservation Association offers a wide range of martin housing, which can be purchased online.
 
Martins like the company of other martins and will gladly occupy tenement-type birdhouses that have as many as 24 separate housing compartments.
 
The Purple Martin Conservation Association offers a wide range of martin housing, which can be purchased online.

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