This week I decided to finally do a little job that I've been putting off for months. Every time I'd walk by my purple martin house, I'd say to myself "I've got to lower that thing and paint it." Well, this week I finally got around to sprucing up the Purple Martin house.
What's that? You don't know what a Purple Martin is? It's only one of the coolest birds on the planet.
As you can see, Purple Martins are not really purple. They are more of a midnight blue color. It's really beneficial to have them living close to your garden because they are insectivores. They are agile hunters and eat a variety of insects. It's absolutely amazing to watch them soar through the air while feeding late in the afternoons. They rarely come to the ground to eat. They usually fly high, so contrary to popular belief, mosquitoes do not form a large part of their diet. But they sure do eat a lot of other pesky insects.
Purple Martins migrate to South America every winter, and they'll be returning here near the end of January or the first of February, almost always before Valentine's Day. So this is the time to lower the house, and clean out the old nests.Since my house has been up for five years, I decided it needed a new paint job. I bought this plastic Purple Martin house at Lowe's and believe it or not, Purple Martins prefer to nest in man-made houses like this or gourds.
After thoroughly cleaning the house, I spray painted the roof green. I knew it had faded, but I didn't realize it was quite this bad!
I really look forward to the return of the Purple Martins every year. Any day now, the male scouts will be here looking for a new home. The females will arrive later, and if I'm lucky, a whole colony of Purple Martins will move in.
After spraying 2 coats of green, I hand brushed the "apartments" white. Then it was ready to go back up 15 feet in the air. That's how they like it.
I'll be busy for the next few weeks. You see, other birds will try their best to build their nests in the house before the Purple Martins arrive. So I'll have to lower the house, almost on a daily basis, and pull those nests out, because Purple Martins will not share their homes with other birds. Once a family of Purple Martins establishes their nest in your house, if it's properly maintained, the same birds will return year after year. And the couples will be the same because Purple Martins are monogamous.
To me, the first real sign of spring is the arrival of the Purple Martins. That's why I've been sprucing up the Purple Martin house. Now on to the next project. There's always something to do here at the Crossroads.
Would like to know what kind of pole you put up weather rope hand lift or cable turn lift.
It is a telescoping pole that came with the purple martin house. We purchased it at Lowe's a number of years ago.
Hi Jane & Leo, Our purple martin house is in a sorry, sad state, we look like slumlords! It needs to come out of the ground and be re-cemented, it's leaning so severely with our lake wind. It needs some paint too or I'm afraid we won't have tenants this spring 🙂
Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow
My grandfather built houses like these...there were several on their property. Brings back memories 🙂
I need to get my husband to build us a Martin house. We have a family that comes back every year. They built a nest in the corner of our porch. I wouldn't mind so much if it were for the "gifts" they leave behind. That and they dive bomb our poor cats.
I'm curious ... does the house need to be in an wide open area or will an area surrounded by trees (but slightly open) work just as well ?
Hi Nancy. The experts say that the purple martins like the wide open spaces best. They say that the house should be at least 40 ft. from the nearest tree. Thanks for stopping by.
Jane and Leo, seeing you get your bird house ready for the Purple Martinseason brought back memories of Charleston and our Purple Martin house. They are one of my favorite birds. Living in Charleston Woody and I both really started to enjoy watching them from our back porch. These birds put on a show every afternoon for all to enjoy. Thanks for sharing with us how you updated your birdhouse. Jean
I don't believe we have purple martins in our area but the chickadees do a great job eating insects year around. Varied Thrush rummage through the fallen leaves to eat grubs and tiny kinglets poke around through the grass. I love birds of all sorts!
It looks like a newly refurbished apartment. Those bird houses are big around here the Amish have several on their property and always on very tall poles.
The Amish appreciate the value of the birds and so do I. Besides being fun to watch while they are eating, they do a great job of cutting down on pesky flying insects. Thanks for stopping by Cottage at the Crossroads.
I love purple martins but have never put up the house for them. Could you tell me a little about the extension pole you used? And do you put any sort of food out for them? Thanks!
Hi Deloros. I bought the house and the extension pole from Lowes. It will extend to about 20ft. And, no I don't put out any food. When they arrive, they feed on flying insects and are just a lot of fun to watch. Thanks for stopping by Cottage at the Crossroads.