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Old 06-15-2011, 11:25 AM   #1
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Default Purple Martins and their Housing

Purple Martins prefer to live in colonies.
They require a 15 to 25 feet high "multiple unit" housing system set up in the center of an open area.
It should be placed 50-60 feet away from trees lower than the martin house itself and at least 30 feet away from your home to give them adequate fly space.
Choosing "white housing" will best reflect the suns heat which causes nestling loss.

To attract martins to an unestablished site...........
You must not allow any other species (House Sparrows and starlings) to claim the house first.
Do not open their housing until four weeks after the "Scouts" (the very first Martins) arrive in the spring!
If an unwanted species has established its territory and has taken over residency first you WILL need to lower the house and tear out their nests.
Once they've moved on elsewhere.... Raise the home back into position for the Martins.

What else does it take to draw martins into a new home?
Since they build their nests of twigs, grass and mud, having or adding a mud source nearby may add to its attractiveness.
Putting vanilla on a cotton ball and dropping it into the nest box before raising it has also had some success.
Adding a stick or two to the top of their new home will also provide more landing spots.

Once they become established, new units are easily located and eagerly used.
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Old 06-16-2011, 08:50 AM   #2
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Housing units come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and materials.....
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf7147.jpg
Wood, plastic or metal condominium models
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf5594.jpg
(some being all too flimsy such as this being the case).

You may enjoy creating your own using gourds you've grown or even prefer to buy the pre made plastic gourds.
Whichever the case....Make sure the inside dimensions are no smaller than 6x6. Height-wise as well.
If you have the opportunity to purchase a larger model with a 9-12" deep cavity please do so.
They are much better at keeping the young out of the reach of flying predators!

If you choose to make your own
Round holes are no longer the norm. Creating a 1 3/16” high 3" crescent does a much better job of keeping out the starlings.
You should also add a couple of ” holes to the front and rear walls for ventilation.
Adding railings will protect the newborns from falling and flying predators.
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf7156-copy.jpg
This model hasn't any railing...... Just grip holes in its base
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf8730.jpg
Thank goodness this little one was mature enough and fortunate to have survived its tumble.
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf7149.jpg
A model that is far more superior in strength and durability having a very nice rail system.
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Old 06-18-2011, 08:18 AM   #3
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Pole systems for the Martin house

Choose a telescoping or pulley and winch type of a pole that raises and lowers vertically for cleaning, evicting nest competitors
and returning nestlings found on the ground. Once you've lowered a unit...
Make sure the nests are raised back to their original positions or the Martins may abandon them!
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf7151.jpg
Tilt-down systems, Poles directly screwed to one another or hinged do not allow access once the martins have set up their nests.
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf7150.jpg
A pole locking system is recommended to prevent the unit from turning in the wind and causing disorientation.
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf7154-copy.jpg
If your pole does not lock into position mark the pole so you will be able to return the home back to its original orientation.
Nest checks done properly will not cause the existing martins to abandon their nests.

NOTE: The higher the pole, the more susceptible to wind and storm damage caused by swaying back and forth loosening their footing!
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Old 06-19-2011, 10:22 AM   #4
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Pole Installation
The units "pole" must be set into cement so the unit will not rock itself free. (Due to wind pressure upon the unit)
Installing a ground socket or slightly larger diameter 15-18" pole into the concrete will allow pole removal for fall storage or relocating.

Dig a hole about 18" deep and 12" wide.
Mix the concrete according to its bag instructions.
Tape the socket end shut so the concrete does not fill the inside and place it into the center of the hole ALONG with the first section of pipe.
Have someone hold the pole and "LEVEL IT" while you pour the concrete into the hole and around the socket.
Carefully remove the pole from the socket and let the concrete fully cure before replacing the pole and its housing unit.
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf7158.jpg
All ready for use
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf7152.jpg
Should the slightly larger basal pole (set in the concrete) be a bit too loose.....
Level the pole and tap a few wedges between the two where they merge to tighten things up.
Painters sticks work very well as they easily conform to shape.
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Old 06-20-2011, 01:30 PM   #5
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musical notes4

Some...where
Un....der the rain.....bow
Purple Martins and their Housing-dscf6709.jpg
Mar....tins nest.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havalotta View Post
Some...where
Un....der the rain.....bow

Mar....tins nest.
Wow, cool photo! Creative.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:16 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by havalotta View Post
Some...where
Un....der the rain.....bow
Attachment 24232
Mar....tins nest.

Very Nice, and timely! Love the colors...
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:01 AM   #8
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Thanks Jack
Any one else have Martin homes set up? We'd love to see them!
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:19 PM   #9
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Very interesting thread! I see them but of course we aren't allowed to actually promote wildlife on condo property~ :/
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Old 06-21-2011, 08:23 PM   #10
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I assist in the monitoring of purple martins at our Refuge. I will take pictures of the gourds and babies next Monday. I go every week with two other volunteers. Yesterday we had 39 new baby martins!! Woohoo!
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babies, bird, bird house, birds, box, chicks, houses, housing, martin homes, martin houses, martins, nest, nesting box, nesting material, nests, protection, purple, purple martin, purple martins

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