The Martins are Here!

Purple Martins (Progne subis), that is. The scouts were here many weeks ago and we were beginning to think that our Martins weren’t coming this year. They showed up late yesterday afternoon! I heard their familiar “click”, ran to the bay window and there they were performing their aerial acrobatics. I love watching Martins play; they are the dolphins of the air. They didn’t waste anytime picking up a chicken feather and begin their game of ‘I drop it – you catch it’. They are just fun birds! With the weather warming up this week, the wasp population will explode and the Martins will do their part in keeping those stinging beasts at bay.

Purple Martins are of the swallow, swift bird family. They are long-distance migratory birds flying from Brazil to North America and display impressive skill relocating their colony.

My husband calls them the fighter jets of the bird world. They glide more than flap, they are swift, agile, and graceful. They have a voracious appetite for insects and help tremendously in keeping the wasps down.

Their competitors are sparrows and starlings. I might add that both of these are European invaders and have taken such a foothold that they are a threat to native songbirds. Starlings (larger sized speckled black bird with yellow beaks) were our big problem last year, but not so much this year. I will also mention that they are not protected by law….so you are free to get rid of them. We Bubbas know just how to do that. It is important to protect your Martin houses from other occupants.

Purple Martin Links
Purple Martin Central
Purple Martin ID
good pic of a Martin house

There are tons of sights with information on how to start and maintain a Martin colony. Give it a google for a good couple hours worth of rabbit tunneling.

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2 Responses to The Martins are Here!

  1. Donna says:

    I’ve never seen martins playing! 🙂 Do you have a martin house? I remember reading about them years and years ago, but never put one up.

  2. Sheri says:

    This is our 2nd year for a martin house. It is the typical two-story white martin house on a pole. If you can, splurge for the one where the house is on some sort of pulley that you can lower up and down to make cleaning/maintenance less of a chore.
    The martins are at their best early in the mornings and just before dusk. Like many other birds they are eager eaters at these times. I was really excited when they came back….I have missed my little backyard stunt pilots.

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