The Purple Martin Site
martin silhouette

Martin House Location

Make sure that your martin house is at least 20 feet from any building or tree and that there are a two or more approaches (flyways) of 40 feet or more. They like lots of swooping room!

If you had serious problems with predators in the past, martins may not return even years after you have corrected the problem. You may then consider moving the house to a new location (still near your house) so that it will seem to be a new martin house. Of course, you must first correct the problem that scared away your martins. There are always new, young martins each year that were not aware of the previous problems.

If you have a large, open area place the martin house close to your house -- about 20 to 40 feet away in a part of your yard where you and your family will spend the most time. Martins like to be near people! (There may be fewer snakes near your house too.) If you have less room, try to place the martin house so that there are two open approaches (flyways) of more than 40 feet. You may raise the house higher than nearby large shrubs or small trees, but place the pole at least 20 feet from any tree. Additional martin houses may be as close together as you like.

A New House Attracts the Young

A new house will most likely be populated by yearling martins -- if at all. I get lots of e-mail from martin lovers with still-empty houses. The older martins will return to last year's home. Some of the young will also. The rest of last year's fledglings will be straggling into your area over the following month looking for a new home.

These young martins are generally less aggressive and may need more of your help in controlling competitors for the house. See Martin Enemies.

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