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.