Your Guide to Buying a Purple Martin House

 

Across Eastern North America, Purple Martins are almost totally dependent on humans to provide nesting sites for breeding and raising their young. They choose housing that meets their instinctual needs for safety.  All of the houses here at the PurpleMartinHouse meet those needs - so how do you select the Purple Martin house thatís right for you?

If you are new to the hobby, you may be finding a lot of information ... and some of it may be conflicting and confusing.  However, if you are looking to attract Purple Martins and live within the habitat they occupy, the only real mistake you can make is to not put up a Purple Martin house. 

For most people "which house?Ē is a matter of price, looks and convenience. Scientific researchers and serious martin enthusiasts also enjoy experimenting with housing designed to increase occupancy rates and fledgling success. Building a better mousetrap, if you will.  We offer houses for these most enthusiastic of aficionados and a range of others for beginners and hobbyists as well.

Most Purple Martin houses do require some assembly before they can be used. Its common for these types of houses to not ship fully assembled because of high shipping costs and additional risk for damage. Some manufacturer brands do however ship mostly assembled martin homes and they include the LoneStar house (all three models) and now the Coates houses have a fully assembled option, see them here.


Price

You donít have to spend a lot Ö unless you choose. Itís a bit like buying a car Ė they all take you down the road, but some get there with more whistles and bells. Our houses range from Chevrolets to Cadillacís, with prices ranging from $49.00 to $369.00.

To the price of a house, you need to add the cost of a mounting pole. Those that we offer are designed to match a specific house and all permit raising or lowing of the house for maintenance. We offer our 12-room Cottage Purple Martin House and matching telescoping pole for less than $110.00 and the 14-room starling resistant Alamo Purple Martin house with its matching winch pole is priced at more than $500.00. Some houses and poles are sold as systems  - this helps to keep prices down.

Appearance
You and your neighbors are the ones who will be looking at your new Purple Martin house from the outside. So, what appeals to you? 

The first martin houses were made from natural gourds. If thatís your style, long lasting and easy to clean Plastic Gourds are now available. Wooden Martin Houses were next Ė and some folks will use nothing else! Aluminum Purple Martin Houses became popular in the 1960ís and many of us now identify Purple Martin Houses with the classic styles popularized by Nature Houseís Pioneer and Trio and Coatesí Classic. The newest designs are also the most modern - designed more strictly from a martinís eye view. A highly functional modern house such as the System by Heritage Farms or the Goliad by LoneStar is sure to make a statement in your yard.

Convenience
Being a martin landlord and managing a martin colony does take some effort, but why not make it easier on yourself?  Telescoping poles and static poles with winch or lanyard systems allow you to easily mount your house, conduct maintenance and get your house ready for the off season.  You should also consider using a ground socket to set your pole. Itís easier than setting the
pole itself and it lets you remove the pole during the off-season.   

Here, you can click on some Helpful Hints on Maintaining your Purple Martin House.  

Function
The Purple Martins themselves are the best judges of whether the home you provide meets their needs. Basically, they have shown preference for nesting cavities no less than 6 inches by 6 inches in size and round entry holes about 2 inches in diameter. Scientific studies and the experience of martin enthusiasts have identified several other features that make martin housing safer and more productive:

  • European Starlings are a nuisance and a threat in some areas. They can stick their heads into standard round openings and threaten a standard size nest. Two solutions are available Ė larger nesting cavities that give the martins more evasive room and crescent shaped entry holes that selectively exclude the predator. Purple Martin houses offering both extra large rooms and crescent shaped openings include Coates Waterís Edge Suites, Heritage Farmís System and the Lonestar line.
  • Winged predators, such as owls, can snatch young birds from porches. If such predators are an issue in your area, optional cage-type predator guards are available for several of the Purple Martin houses from Coates and Nature House
  • Snakes and some rodents can also climb their way up a pole to threaten a colony. Pole guards present a physical barrier; these are available for all of our poles and are a recommended option.
  • Outside perches and porches give the martins some extra space around the nest. Porch dividers are used on linear porches to keep males from dominating more than their own nest, thereby increasing occupancy rates of adjacent cavities. 

In sum, select a house within your price range that has the convenience and safety features that arte right right for you. There is a wealth of information and experience out there Ė read up before you buy and perhaps add to it as you learn. Hereís our Guide to Attracting Purple Martins.




 How to identify your backyard martins.

Guide to Buying a Purple Martin House.

Guide to Attracting Purple Martins

Helpful hints on maintaining Purple Martin Houses



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