For many people, attracting purple martins is one of the benefits of having a back yard. These small colorful birds are found on the east and west coasts of North America. The martins migrate to Brazil, but return to North America in the spring to nest or breed. There are a few ways to attract these birds, but getting them to return year and year to the same spot require managing the area.
Attracting Purple Martins-Housing
The best way to get purple martins in your backyard is to give the birds the housing that they prefer. For housing you can buy a martin habitat online or even make your own from a kit. Single boxes or gourds are also suitable as housing. It is important to paint the housing or the gourd white or a light pastel. Martins prefer light colors before they reflect the sun and keep the housing cool for the baby birds.
The size of the housing is also important. The housing should be five to seven inches high with a floor space of at least 6”x6” although 7”x12” is better. The entrance hole should be 1” from the floor with the hole opening around 2 and 1/8 inches. Have the house ready when the martins return. Make certain to keep the housing closed until the martins arrive. Also don’t allow other birds to use the habitat or the martins will do someplace else.
Attracting Purple Martins-Placement
Purple martins are very particular about where they will live. The martins like lots of space around them. Place the habitat in the center of a wide open area. Any residential homes, including your own, should be at least 30 feet away. Any tree that is taller than the habitat should be at least 40 feet away. Martins prefer not to be surrounded by lots of trees.
Attracting Purple Martins-Food
While some people use bird seed to attract birds, this won’t help you to get martins in your yard. Purple martins only eat flying
insects. They eat a variety of insects from bees to dragonflies, but only a very small percentage of mosquitoes. With the right housing and the proper placing of the housing, attracting purple martins to your back yard is a little easier.