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Over one million North Americans put up housing for Purple Martins.


Purple Martin Poles

Buying your purple martin birdhouse or gourd is only the first step. Since these birds can be very particular about where their house is located in your backyard, a fundamental aspect of attracting purple martins is which martin pole to use to mount their martin birdhouse or gourd. As an experienced landlord or if you are new to the job, it is important to note exactly where in your backyard your purple martin house should go and how high should it be mounted; otherwise, these beautiful birds may not want to nest in your yard.

Depending on your climate and the number of birdhouses you plan to house, different poles are available to accommodate your specific needs. Customize your purple martin gourd or martin birdhouse by picking the right pole for your backyard.

Pole Mounting Requirements

Purple martin houses and purple martin gourds should sit on a vertically telescoping pole, or a lanyard in open spaces. Your martin house should be placed in an open area that has approximately 25 feet of space on at least three sides. Martins have very specific aerial space requirements. Birdhouses or gourds should be placed in the center of the most open spot available, about 30-120 feet from human housing. Also, purple martins prefer that their homes be located on the tallest pole within 40 to 60 feet of their residing home. There should be no trees taller than the martin housing within 40 feet, preferably 60 feet. In general you'll want to find an area far from trees for your purple martin housing, the farther the housing is placed from trees, the better. In the southern states, martins are less particular about house placement. Southern landlords can sometimes place housing within 15-20 feet of trees and still attract martins. * Information retrieved from the Purple Martin Conservation Association

Vertical Requirements for Martin Poles

The vertical accessibility of a purple martin birdhouse is a key component to consider when mounting poles. The maintenance of these homes consists of frequent, possibly daily removal of sparrows or starling nests. These birds are competitors to the purple martin and often try to nest in their homes while these birds are away. Sparrows and Starlings will work to scare off purple martins and take over their space. Purple martins will not defend their homes; they will simply leave the area and begin searching for a new home.

Landlords who do not keep a close watch on their backyard tenants will leave these birds susceptible to not only sparrows and starlings that can displace the purple martins but other predators as well. This can include animals such as owls, rat snakes, and raccoons who can create havoc on the beautiful location you've cultivated for the songbirds. It is important to watch over these colonies and stay alert for unwanted pesky animals around your purple martin gourd or birdhouse.