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Purple Martin Houses

Are Purple Martins the most desirable wild bird species in America?

With over one million people in the USA alone providing housing for martins, they are a beloved species that readily adapt to habitats created by people. Martins belong in the Swallow family and are the largest bird of that species. Our site features a variety of resources and houses to help you attract this beautiful and exciting bird.

"America's Most Wanted Bird" are a welcome addition to any bird lover's backyard, especially those with insect or mosquito problems. But martins bring much more than natural insect reduction to your yard. These birds are truly people oriented and want to be around us and in fact are literally dependent on us for housing. Their happiness is so spontaneous and exuberant and their aerial displays so magnificent, it's not hard to grasp why we admire them so much.  Many people feel, the martin's sense of exuberance and cheer is in return for offering them a nice place to live and raise their family. They undoubtedly bring a sense of peace and happiness to all those fortunate enough to attract them. 

So how exactly does one go about attracting purple martins and what type of housing is best? Well, the former is much easier to agree on than the latter. Like all other creatures martins require the basics of food, water and shelter. Their diet is primarily insects and mosquitoes and a source of fresh water is always helpful (although being next to a body of water is not required to have a successful martin colony). As for shelter, of course you'll need housing.  As stated previously, martins are almost completely dependent on man-made housing.  Whether you're looking for a conventional apartment style martin house (below), purple martin gourds or a gourd rack system, we've got you covered.

Critical to success in attracting martins is location, location, location!  
Unfortunately, many martin houses sit vacant across the country due to the landlord choosing a poor location or worse yet allowing non-native species like sparrows or starlings to take over the nests.  When martins assess a potential house for nesting, it is critical that it is located far enough from trees or limbs to ensure that predators can't easily access it and that other birds are not nesting in them.  Additionally, the martins love an open space to perform their aerial acrobats so make sure the house is placed in an open space, a minimum of 30 feet from the closest overhanging limbs or branches and if possible within 40 feet of your own home.

Recommended elevation is between 12 and 14 feet. Don't forget that being a good martin landlord requires a good pole and rack system. Make sure the pole and system you get will easily support your housing. You need to be able to raise and lower the house easily for nest checks, cleaning out competing sparrow or starling nests or in case of high wind or storms.  Go here for our selection of purple martin house poles and martin accessories.

Finally, never be afraid to offer additional housing. There is safety in numbers and purple martins fully recognize this fact. Many landlords miss an excellent opportunity to expand their colony by not realizing that a typical 12 room martin house with 50% occupancy is essentially full! If you follow these tips you'll have a much greater success of attracting this wonderful bird. Best of luck and don't hesitate to call us with questions as we're here to help. Or go here for more general info on attracting wild birds to your backyard.