Purple Martins In The Garden

Birds can be an important part of gardening.

I am now going to tell you more about purple martin’s than you probably ever wanted to know. (Resource: Attracting Martins to Your Purple Martin House by Steven Musumeche, web address:  http://www.backyardchirper.com/bird-info-86.html)

Purple Martin house in the garden.

Our purple martin house in the garden.

Close up of purple martin house.

Close up of purple martin house.

Purple martin’s are members of the swallow family and prefer living in colonies. They are monogamous, meaning they pair for the breeding season.

They winter in South America and migrate to North America in the spring for the purpose of breeding. The male martin usually arrives well in advance of the female to scout out available housing. (Yay!… For the male martin being such a good provider and taking care of his woman!)

Martins build their nest from twigs, grasses, straw, and mud. Many people think having a source of mud nearby attracts the birds more.

Females lay two to seven eggs over one week, then incubate the eggs for about two weeks. After the baby birds hatch, both parents share the responsibility of feeding them and teaching them to fly.

They love for their house to be placed in the center of an open area away from trees and 15 to 25 feet off the ground.

Insects make up the bulk of a martin’s diet, so they provide natural insect control. The source listed above says they… “have been estimated to eat over one thousand mosquitoes per day.”

Mother Earth News (www.motherearthnews.com) says… “one purple martin can consume 400 flies or several thousand mosquitoes in a single day, the equivalent of its own weight in flying insects!”

Not only can these birds clean your garden of unwanted pests, they also provide a great example of good parenting, and their calls are beautiful to hear.

I hope you will consider putting up a house in your own garden.

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