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Purple Martin Housing
I have received much e-mail concerning the type of material to use in the construction of a purple martin house. Many people prefer to work with wood in building their own houses. And the cost of an aluminum house is high. Lets first take a look at the requirements of such a house, then we can discuss the pros and cons of each.
An Ideal Purple Martin House
Safe House From Predators and Pests
The ideal house would provide barriers to snakes, raccoons, owls, squirrels and other predators. It would also keep out house sparrows and starlings that compete for housing space and sometimes destroy eggs and rob nests. The ideal house also would help fight parasites.
Easy to Access
The ideal house could be easily and quickly lowered (vertically - not on a tilt pole) so that clean-out and inspection can be completed safely and with little bother to the martins or to the host.
Easy to clean out
The ideal house compartments would open up fully so that the host does not have to "hook" sparrow or starling nest material out through the hole. Also ideally, one does not have to open one compartment to access another.
Well Ventilated and Well Drained
The ideal house is well ventilated to keep each unit cool and dry in the summer.
The ideal house is well drained (for those cool rain and sleet storms in the Spring.)
The ideal house is insulated (for cold Spring nights and hot Summer days.)
Purple Martin Housing Standards
This subject is so important that I wish to include a link to Chuck Abare's site. Chuck has repeated the PMCA Purple Martin Housing Standards along with his very useful comments relating to gourds.