Thursday, April 14, 2011

Purple Martins

I am an avid bird watcher. I watch dozens of cardinals, bluejays and red-headed woodpeckers eat from my bird feeders each day. My very favorite birds are the Purple Martins.
My husband bought and erected our first Purple Martin house three years ago. He erected the house on a metal pole in an open area away from the building and trees. It was only a matter of days before several Purple Martin scouts were checking out the new dwelling. Within a week, the entire house was full. The birds raised families and stayed with us until autumn. After they migrated to a warmer climate, we took the house down and cleaned it out.
The next spring we put up a second Purple Martin house. We did not have to wait long for our old friends to return. They stayed with us for another season and seemed to thrive.
This year both of the Purple Martin houses are full and we have ordered another house. Purple Martins are aerial insectivores which means they catch flying insects from the air. The birds sing a beautiful song as they dart and dive through the air looking for their dinner.
Martins make their nests in cavities, either natural or artificial. In many places, humans put up real or artificial hollow gourds, or houses for martins, especially in the east, where Purple Martins are almost entirely dependent on such structures. I would like to erect an entire village of Purple Martin houses over the next several years.
It is so delightful to watch and listen to these birds. They seem to have distinct personalities. Sometimes our Border Collie dog tries to chase the birds and they dive down and try to peck her! Of course, she is not fast enough to catch a bird but she sure tries.
You do not have to live in a rural area to erect a purple martin house. Many city dwellers have erected successful dwellings.

If you would like to learn more about Purple Martins, I recommend this book;
What You Should Know About the Purple Martin

Here are links to two videos that I have on YouTube that feature our purple martins;
Purple Martins With Full Moon
Purple Martin House

Would you consider erecting a Purple Martin house? Please tell me about it in the comments section below.
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