The Purple Martin Site
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More Purple Martin Housing

Please note that I do not sell houses

I do not sell martin houses. I do not provide plans for martin houses either. Look for the references on the Vendors Resources page.

The Reality of Purple Martin Houses

Aluminum Houses

Check the Vendors page. If you can afford it, the aluminum design allows easy access to the nest by letting the entire front end of the compartment lift up and out like a garage door.

Trio houses will lower vertically with a telescoping pole, or slide down a stationary pole. (It took me two minutes this evening to lower my Trio and apply plugs to the openings not in use by martins, then raise the house back up while the martins watched.)

The houses have porches (landings) with railings so the young birds are safer from falling. (They like to get out on the porch and visit each other.)

The bright aluminum also greatly discourages starlings.

Wood Houses

May I suggest that you paint the inside walls of each compartment white. This will keep it bright inside to help discourage the starlings.

Drill two small holes per nest cube for ventilation.

Also, if you live in the South, I think the roof should be white. A cedar roof should be OK, but a white roof would be cooler.

Your houses must be much lighter than the wooden one Dad & I used many years ago. Ours would have been too heavy for a telescoping pole! Once the first martins moved in, I had to climb a ladder to clean out the nests of persistent sparrows.

Twelve to twenty feet high is right. But many successful houses are higher.


Use NATURAL gourds with LARGE 11" diameter and larger. Check out the new supergourds from the PMCA. Purchase or build a rack to suspend the gourds. You should be able to lower the rack for nest check. Suspend the gourds from one or more lines. DO NOT attach the gourd lines to tree, wall, or anything else that a predator can climb.

Housing Variety

Some experts highly recommend for those folks trying to establish a colony for the first time that they offer a combination of an apartment-style martin house along with gourds. The more cavities offered, the better the chances of attracting martins. Kent Justus suggests a minimum of 10 compartments (including Trio housing converted from 12 to 6 compartments, along with 4 gourds) when just getting started. I fully understand that this is an expensive way to start out.

Housing Amenities

Nearby water is a plus. Although martins will fly up to two miles for water, doing so must add stress to the life of raising young.

Mud is a much desired building material. You may want to provide some nearby.

I put out some dried egg shells for them and have found myself supplying the entire neighborhood.

You might consider a snake guard. (Something like a 2 foot section of 8 inch stove pipe, closed at the top end) Attach to the martin house pole or gourd rack pole. That will also stop raccoons.

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