Purples Martins are beautiful and athletic birds that birdwatchers absolutely love to see. These helpful birds are great at working to balance an ecosystem and can make it easy for you to comfortably invest in living alongside the insects in your garden. Fortunately, these flyers are known for their interest in soaring through the air and exploring the world around them, which makes it fairly simple to draw them to you as long as you are willing to make some changes on your property. Some people find that these birds can be difficult to win over, but that isn’t necessarily true. With the right approach, you can win their favor and enjoy watching them soar by!
What do Purple Martins eat?
Purple Martins are birds that are constantly on the go. These stunning creatures are fast and enjoy flying more than some of the other birds around. Since this is the case, they are known to focus their dietary habits around this premise. Purple Martins can be found flying through the air and quickly snatching up bugs. Many people enjoy watching the process, but it does mean holding onto a steady bug supply.
When it comes to feeding purple martins, you won’t find them looking for birdfeeders. While some birds enjoy stopping by for a snack, purple martins expect you to provide them with the wonders of nature. Since this is the case, you will need to make sure that you have plenty of natural food to offer them. In some cases, they have been known to chow down on eggshells and other comparable calcium-filled options as well. These can be a huge health boost for them.
Where can you find Purple Martins?
For the most part, plenty of people can expect to see purple martins within the United States. These birds are known to take up residence in the eastern side of the country, with many enjoying their time in the middle of the country as well. The occasional purple martin can be seen in some western areas from time to time. These birds primarily spend time in the United States during breeding season when it is warm, but during the migratory season they are known to travel south through Mexico and some of Central America. The best time to see purple martins in the United States is in summer.
Is a Purple Martin a Swallow?
Yes, purple martins are actually swallows. Swallows can be found all around North America with this type of bird spending a great deal of time in the United States and moving to Canada or Mexico throughout the changing seasons. If you are looking for similar birds, the Violet-Green Swallow and the Barn Swallow are known to share some of their tendencies and attributes.
How to Attract Purple Martins to your yard?
1. Let Bugs Be
Purple martins are incredibly active birds that want nothing more than to spend time swooping through the air. These natural acrobats are almost always looking for something delicious to eat, and there is nothing that they love more than a hearty collection of flying bugs. Avoid using pesticides or other poisons to ward off insects. When purple martins are nearby, your insect problems are completely over. These little guys will swoop in and gobble up all of the pests, so don’t worry about letting them get out of hand. If you are lucky, you will be able to watch these martins and their daring tricks as they hunt for their meal during the day. It is a truly fascinating site to watch!
2. Bird House
Purple martins love a good bird house, and the young male birds will be happy to visit. Purple martins are known to return to a nesting site year after year if it is satisfactory, so this can be a really exciting event for avid bird watchers. These houses must be kept high in the air, generally taller than ten feet tall. These strange birds are also partial to white for their house color. As long as your house is well designed and has a place to perch, you might just end up playing landlord for one of these beautiful birds for years to come.
3. Egg Shells
Calcium can be hard to come by in nature, which is why it pays to offer a little something extra for your friendly neighborhood bugs. While these birds generally hate being easily fed anything because it removes the hunt for them, they have been known to enjoy some crushed up eggshells. This easy source of calcium is simply too convenient to pass up on and will help you to win their favor. Try leaving out fresh shells on a flat tray and watch how they fly over to investigate!
4. Open Yard
Purple martins love flying more than most other birds. It is common to see them dancing through the air in an attempt to snag a meal or even to just have fun. Since these airborne friends love to spend time soaring and performing tricks in the air, it is important to make it possible for them to do so. Make sure that your yard isn’t cluttered by design elements or trees so that they can sit back and watch the show that the purple martins have to offer. You will love watching them perform for you. When martins have enough open space, you will see just how differently they act, particularly if you have plenty of open grass.
5. Water Source
These birds don’t like to lounge about in water like some other birds, but they love to fly by for a sip. Purple martins can be seen gliding gracefully above the water in nature, so make it possible for them to do it at your home. If space allows for it, give them a large water feature that makes it easy for them to skim the surface of the water as they fly by. It will attract plenty of purple martins and a few other birds too. Make sure that it is possible for them to soar clear across the top of it.
If space is limited then a water bath can be a great addition to any yard to attract birds. Using solar powered fountain pump can further improve your chance as the sound of running water will get their attention through sound and sight. Solar powered pumps are sustainable and cheap way to create a running water source in your yard.
6. Keep Predators at Bay
There are few things that really bother purple martins, but snakes are one of them. In the event that you have purple martin housing or a good space for them to make a nest, you want to make sure that snakes can’t get there. If you notice that these birds seem to be circling your nesting spaces but never really landing to investigate, you might have a snake hidden in the area that you are not seeing.
Other predators, including some larger birds may also deter purple martins away from your yard. Keep an eye out and actively take action if you feel there are bully birds in your area.
Are Purple Martins agressive?
Purple martins are one type of bird that get a bad reputation for being aggressive. While it is true that these birds can be more territorial than some of the other birds in your garden, classifying them as aggressive can be a bit unfair. Purple martins are likely to try to chase off other birds that are anywhere near their nests, and from time to time these birds have been known to chase off the odd human. Understanding that these birds are merely defending their home can make it easier to understand their behavior and to back off when necessary. These birds will not outright attack you, but may simply warn you that their nest is nearby.
When should you put out your Purple Martin House?
Purple martin houses are designed to attract young male purple martins, and as a consequence of this, you want to keep out the other birds. During the off season, you will want to keep the doors on your purple martin house closed so that other birds won’t get in. Keep the house blocked off until a month or so after you begin to see the purple martins. This is when they will be on the lookout for a new house, and if you are lucky enough to win their favor, they will return year after year to the same spot.
Why do Purple Martins Swarm?
Purple martins are known to travel in swarms. This phenomenon is met with both fascination and contention debating on the area. These swarms happen for a couple of reasons. On one hand, it might just be the birds migrating to a new location. This makes it easy for them to travel safely with the other birds. In addition to this, smaller swarms of male purple martins have been known to make the rounds when they begin looking for new places to hunt or make nests. These birds are constantly on the move looking for new places to hang out. If you see them circling your yard, they might be interested in what you have to offer.
We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!