Entice purple martins for powerful pest control


How To Grow Just About Everything


You may not be familiar with the purple martin, but this is one beautiful bird you want in your yard. In fact you want a lot of them. These hungry flyers gobble up thousands of insects each day.

To attract these large swallows to your yard and keep them happy, you need to give them four simple things.

  • Food. You don’t have to set up any special bird feeders for purple martins. As long as you don’t spray pesticides, they will find plenty to eat. Martins benefit from some fine gravel or crushed eggshells as a calcium supplement.
  • Water. Instead of birdbaths, martins like large natural water sources like lakes, ponds, or streams. If you don’t have a natural water source nearby, create a large, elongated pond so these helpful birds can swoop down and scoop up water on the fly.
  • Shelter. Purple martins shelter in artificial houses. They prefer open areas where they have a clear line of sight. They will also use scattered perches where they can scan for threats, watch for food, and roost. Tall poles with antenna-like structures are best.
  • Nesting area. These birds nest in colonies and require large houses with lots of compartments. They are attracted to white nesting boxes that reflect heat. Place birdhouses 30 to 120 feet away from large trees and other structures so they can easily feed on passing pests. 
    Look at page 231 of How To Grow Just About Everything and discover the proper nesting materials to make their nests sturdy and enticing.



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      • FC&A Staff Writer