When should purple martin houses be put up?

Answered by Willian Lymon

Purple martin houses should be put up four to six weeks after the first purple martins arrive. This timing is important because it allows the purple martins to establish their territories and find suitable nesting sites before the martin houses are introduced. By waiting until the martins have arrived and settled in the area, you increase the chances of attracting them to your martin house.

It is worth noting that purple martins are migratory birds, and their arrival in an area can vary depending on the region and weather conditions. However, a general guideline is to observe the first purple martins in your area and then wait for a few weeks before putting up your martin house.

Once purple martins have used a martin house, they tend to return to it year after year. This behavior is known as site fidelity, and it is one of the reasons why it is important to clean out and maintain your martin house regularly. In the fall, after the martins have migrated south for the winter, it is recommended to clean out any old nesting material and debris from the martin house. This helps to maintain a clean and healthy environment for the birds when they return in the spring.

Another important aspect of maintaining a purple martin house is protecting it from starlings and sparrows. These birds are known to compete with purple martins for nesting sites and can even take over a martin house if given the opportunity. To deter starlings and sparrows, you can use special entrance hole guards or traps designed specifically for these species. It is important to regularly monitor and remove any unwanted birds to ensure that your martin house remains exclusive to purple martins.

Additionally, it is recommended to repaint the martin house white every few years. This helps to reflect sunlight and keep the interior of the house cooler during the hot summer months. It also gives the martin house a fresh and inviting appearance, which can attract more purple martins to choose it as their nesting site.

Purple martin houses should be put up four to six weeks after the first purple martins arrive in your area. Maintaining and cleaning the martin house regularly, protecting it from starlings and sparrows, and repainting it white every few years are important steps to ensure the success of attracting and hosting purple martins. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the presence of these beautiful birds in your backyard year after year.