Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Purple Martin House


Purple Martin House

The Purple Martin (Progne subis) is a member of the swallow family. It is a medium sized, migratory song bird much desired in gardens. The male is entirely a glossy dark, purplish black sheen while the female is purplish black with a duller sheen and lighter underpants. Several Purple Martins will nest in a multi-compartmented birdhouse much like a bird condo building. They return to nest in the same area each year. Purple Martins get both their food (insects) and water while in flight. While they do eat a wide variety of winged insects they fly relatively high enough that mosquitoes do not form a large part of their diet.

In our area, Purple Martin houses and dried gourds, painted and turned into birdhouses to attract these birds are a common sight. The houses are normally painted white with blue or green roofs while the gourds are painted white and hung in groups. Both need to be monitored to prevent the invasive species House Sparrows (Passer dometicus) or Common Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) from taking over the house. These birds need to be actively removed from the house or the Purple Martins will abandon it.

I was quite excited to find a Purple Martin house in our garden. It sits on the north side of the back shaded by a lovely silver maple tree (Acer saccharinum). It is in need of repair and monitoring. A family of house sparrows has taken up residence in the centre compartment. Once the nest is empty we will clean out the house in the hopes of attracting Purple Martins to nest there.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
©2007


3 comments:

  1. Wow, I've never heard of purple martins!

    ;-)

    BTW glad you survived the move.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You have a very nice blog! Purple Martin's are such interesting birds. I would love to have the right housing and see if we can get them here. :o)
    Janice

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete

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