Sunday, August 2, 2015

Choosing a Martin House

Thinking about getting a purple martin bird house?  Historically, martins used cavities in trees to nest but over time they’ve adapted to man-made housing almost exclusively so it’s up to us to ensure they have a safe place to nest.  This article will briefly discuss the two different types of martin houses available. 

Martins are named quite obviously for their body color.  They’re the largest in the swallow family and have the most incredible migration pattern flying all the way to Brazil for the winter before returning to the US in early spring and late winter. 

Types of Martin Bird Houses

There are two primary styles of houses those being “gourds” and the “conventional” (aluminum or wood) multi-level apartment looking units.  There is some debate as to whether Purple Martin Gourds are beneficial in attracting martins and to reproductive success but in our experience the success is relatively the same if conditions such as location, food and water supply and safety are the same.  A particular advantage to hanging gourds is that they swing freely in the wind, which seems to have no effect on the martins but will certainly discourage those European starlings and house sparrows from trying to take over.  Many of our martin gourds come with a rack and pole system while others can be hung below a conventional house or simply on a secure line.  It’s best to have a system you can easily raise and lower in order to do routine nest checks and other maintenance.

The other style of housing is conventional apartment looking units with multiple levels and shared porch areas.  Research has proven that white is the color of choice and materials can be light-weight aluminum or wood.  Wood is naturally heavier and thus better insulated to help retain heat in cool conditions and stay cooler in hot conditions.  Aluminum is also quite good at dissipating heat and most of our aluminum martin houses have reflective roofs and excellent ventilation to keep the nest cool. 

Please stop over to the store and contact directly for your Purple Martin Bird House.

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