How did you get introduced to the Purple Martins

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Posts: 823
Joined: Thu May 17, 2007 1:24 pm
Location: Florida/Tallahassee


I think it's your turn now. How did you get introduced to the purple martins?

The Olsons
Posts: 3200
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:57 pm
Location: North Padre Island, TX

Hi Everyone,

Great stories....amazing and happy....I was out of town today and am going to be in meetings in the morning, but then I will respond and tell my story, which is rather naive. Just a quick note to let you know I DO care about all your great stories...... :lol: :lol: :lol: You all are the BEST!!!!

Love it or leave it~~~Astrid :-)

You came up w/ a great topic.....My husband and I were at Home Depot one afternoon looking around, and we read the side of the Martin box.... No More mosquitos!!!!!!! I was sold!!!!! it was the middle of summer and we really had the bugs around! We got a little more info. and just put the house up. Our 1st season we had 4 pairs.... they continued to come the next two years and I ended up the last year (before we moved a mile away)w/ 5 pairs.... I was just a newbie then and didn't know anything about nest checks. We put the housing back up at the new house and I worried about the location.... really close to pine trees and about 10 feet from the side of our home. That was 3 years and 15 pairs ago.... My best season yet was this year, I had 4 pairs in 06' and this time 9 pairs!!!!!!
i did nest checks (too often) this season but I love my birdies and had to make sure all was o.k.!!!! i hope the next season brings many more!!!
I have really enjoyed the forum and have learned a ton! And you know what else?????? I have made some great friends !!! Thanks for all of your wisdom and knowledge and support!!!!!
We all appreciate everything that you do!

O.K..... I wasn't finished w/ my post yet...... Thanks again for everything......

P.S. Thanks for the b-day ecard!!!! It was really cute!
btw... I stopped by the roost and it's still going strong!!!!
I think I saw a few of my babies!!!!!
The Olsons
Posts: 3200
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:57 pm
Location: North Padre Island, TX

Hello Martin Friends,

I love all your stories :grin: :grin: :grin: I love the way you decorate your offices with Purple Martin pictures, the way you make a point to introduce the family to the Purple Martins, the way the love for the Purple Martins has been passed on or initiated by Grandparents or Parents. I think each of your stories are wonderful and special, so I today I thought, maybe we can gather them all and make a little booklet out of them. With your permission, I would like to further look into this and any suggestions are welcome. If this works out, I would like to send these booklets out maybe at Christmas time to everyone who participated in this post or others who would be interested. What are your ideas/suggestions on this?

Thank you again for all your replies.

Love it or leave it~~~Astrid :-)
The Olsons
Posts: 3200
Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:57 pm
Location: North Padre Island, TX

I came to the United States 16 years ago, and I did not know what Purple Martins were. One day in 1999 our neighbor built a wooden bird house, he said the family objected, but he did it anyway. I was curious of what kind of birds would nest in it. He did never mention the Purple Martins.
The following spring Lynn, my husband, got all excited about some black birds circling that house and told me those were Purple Martins and very difficult to attract. He was familiar with them from where he grew up in North Dakota, but his family never had any Purple Martins themselves. We kept watching the birds through the window or when we were in the yard.....we were sooooooo happy that our neighbor had Purple Martins. They looked so beautiful and gracious, and we just loved their song. It never occurred to us, that we could be so lucky as to have these wonderful birds in our yard. Well, here is the funny part. In 2002 we realized that sparrows were trying to take over the cavities of the Purple Martins. In the meantime the house was sold and the new owner did not care. So we went and bought a birdhouse for the S P A R R O W S....yes, we thought if we put up a bird house the sparrows will come over and leave the martins alone....I am NOT kidding..... To our surprise one of the ASY males came over and checked things out. He was absolutely gorgeous....After a few days he brought a female with him and she approved right away of his choice. We could not believe it, we were ecstatic, we were about to have Purple Martins. Of course, the sparrows now decided they needed to give this pair a hard time. I did not know anything about S&S control or what harm sparrows could do to the Purple Martins. It annoyed me a big deal though to see the sparrows harassing the Martins, so I bought the 2 biggest water guns I could find, and situated myself right under the Heath house. Every time a sparrow would show up I fired some water on him/her, sometimes for hours. I think this is when the neighbors started to wonder about me. After a few days Lynn suggested to get an airsoft gun, which has plastic pellets that do not kill, but scare. Somehow we managed to keep the sparrows away and the martins started building their nest. We named them Arnie and Maria. They had one baby and they had a second clutch with three babies. That was the beginning of us having Purple Martins in 2003. I started to read up on them and realized we had a lot to learn. I found Chuck Abare's webpage, called him and he told me that he knew of someone in Corpus Christi who could help me out. He gave me John Barrow's name and he readily helped us out right away. He helped us with the set up of more housing, stressed the importance of S&S control, and was just always available for any of many questions. Without John's help and patience I do not think we would have ever come as far as we are now. When Arnie came back the next year, he went straight to the Heath, same compartment, and then invited several friends to come over. He did not allow them to stay in the Heath, but he “directed the traffic” towards the new Goliad house that had 4 gourds underneath. This was so much fun to watch how he wanted them to be here, but not in his territory. That year we grew from one pair to 10 pairs. It was so amazing to watch them and their activity, listen to their singing, and more then once we had to pull ourselves away from the windows and remind ourselves to go to work. I was always looking forward coming home from work and going outside to mingle with them, and Arnie and I always would “talk” for a few minutes telling each other about our days....The following year we replaced the Heath with a gourd rack and added to more gourd racks, so we now have four system. From then on our colony has been growing and this year we had 29 pairs. Unfortunately, it was also the first year that Arnie did not return....he will always have a very special place in our hearts.

Love it or leave it~~~Astrid :-)
Posts: 1931
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 6:42 pm
Location: Florida/Pompano Beach
Martin Colony History: I moved to South Florida, from Delaware, in August of 2015.

I will have 2 MSS-8 houses, with Excluder entrances, here on my condo grounds. This season I will also have two Deluxe Gourd Racks with 24 Excluder Gourds with Modified Excluder entrances. In our condo development, along the lake in a different section, I have 8 Excluder Gourds hanging from 84 inch Shepherd's Hooks with predator guards.

At Quiet Waters Park, nearby in Deerfield Beach, I care for a Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 TVG's. I also care for a Deluxe Gourd rack with 12 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder entrances.

At another local park, Tradewinds Park at Coconut Creek, care for a Trendsetter 12, 5 gourds rack with 60 Excluder gourds with Modified Excluder Entrances and 1 Deluxe Gourd Rack with 12 Troyer Vertical Gourds with wing guards over the Conley II to keep out smaller starlings.

I was first introduced to purple martins through the gardening magazines and ads showing the then new aluminum housing and eating"2000 mosquitoes a day". Also, when i was riding the school bus there was a house near the school with a large, wooden, white martin house on a wooden post in the backyard. I was fascinated by all these soaring birds that appeared in May.
Posts: 301
Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 9:46 am
Location: Illinois/Fairbury

I was introduced to purple martins while on a vacation to Arkansas when I was a young child. My brother and I were on a fishing trip with our dad and mother. I remember seeing a big birdhouse on a boat dock and it had these beautiful purple birds flying around it and over the lake (Bull Shoals Lake). I also remember seeing different houses around the lake. When I returned back to my home town in Pontiac, Illinois I immediately found 2 martin houses in our little town that actually had martins. I was able to ride my bike by one of the sites and did so quite frequently. From that summer on, I was hooked. My parents were kind enough to buy me a couple of inexpensive houses, but I had a lot to learn. I did not get martins until about 28 years later. There were many moves in between there and some places did not have a good site for martins, but my current location is perfect. I feel very blessed to have a strong colony and even after wanting to throw the towel in for many years, my patience paid off :)
Posts: 95
Joined: Thu May 31, 2007 2:24 pm
Location: Kansas

I love the stories of people remembering their grandparents had martins so when they got older, they had to have them too. I would love to say that is how I became interested..........................but, it is not! :)

Nearly twenty years ago when I married, my husband and I were re-doing our house. I was working in a room in our upstairs on a very cold, blustery day. I looked out the window and on a tree branch close to the window was the most beautiful Eastern Bluebird ever. He was all puffed up and looking gorgeous. Well, that was it, I was so intrigued by this little bird that I started talking about it to my husband and in-laws. Hard to believe that I had never seen one before. My dad was good to point out different birds to me growing up, but I do not recall that I had ever seen a bb until that moment. That sparked a love for bbs that I still have.......................

My mother-in-law was so kind as to give me a wonderful Reader's Digest Bird Book for Easter that year and I spent a great deal of time reading it. Since it was just becoming Spring, it was the perfect time to start noticing the return of birds. Orioles, House Wrens, Robins, RW Blackbirds, Barn Swallows, etc................................I started to notice them all. I still remember the feeling that I had then.............I had lived all those years in this world while nature had been going on and I never appreciated it so much. Talk about becoming obsessed and addicted! :grin:

It was in my pouring over the bird book that I spent a lot of time in the *swallow* section. I remember one time being in town (we farm and live in the country) and I looked up and noticed a Purple Martin on a power line. Wow, that was the absolute first time I had ever seen one. That was the moment I knew I would someday have them.

That was around 1994. I mentioned to a lady in the small town where I worked at the post office that I had seen a martin house in her back yard and wondered if she had any. She seemed shocked that anyone would ever notice. Within a hour she came back to the p.o. and gave me a copy of the Update magazine to keep. It was copy 5 (3). It was the Update that introduced the Growth Chart of Nestling Purple Martins. I practically knew that issue by heart as I would not call the number on the inside cover to become a member for another nine years! How happy I was to know the PMCA was still there and I joined right away! :grin:

I gathered from what I read in that Update that having martins was more than putting up a house and calling it good. It seemed that you should be willing to take the time to manage them. So, I decided that with child #2 on the way that I might not have time to do it right. It wouldn't be until 2003 that I would finally get my Purple Martin house up. When the realization hit me that I might have to wait many years to get martins, I wished I had went ahead and put one up in 1995, I might have had them by 03'.

2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006 went by and I did not get my martins!!! Finally, in 2007 I was blessed with that magical first pair that helped me to go on and get an unbelieveable 14 pairs!! But that is another story................................. :wink:

as a kid we had martin houses on the farm but i wasnt impressed. 2 Years ago i just happened to pick up an envelope of gourd seeds and harvested 104 gourds,,Well one thing led to another,,i made 8 martin gourds on a 20 foot pole and was blessed with a late pair that fledged 3,,this year i had 3 pair,,next year i will have a 4 plex with 8 cavities and 8 gourds for them and another pole ready with the same amount,incase the first rack fills up.
BUT unlike ya'll I AM not addicted.:)

PS,,my dawn song wakes me up every morning even tho all the martins are gone untill march<sigh>
Posts: 2134
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: PA/Avis
Martin Colony History: The 1972 St. Agnes flood wiped out all the Martins in my area. One day, in 1997-98, 5 or 6 Martins landed on the power wires crossing my back yard. I had no house for them. They kept coming back day after day. We got a martin house a few weeks later & they have been coming back every year since. I average 12-15 pair per year.

About 6 years ago they showed up in my back yard. Landed on the power lines that cross my yard & started singing away. Neighbor told me they were Purple Martins....nice birds to have around. They kept coming back, so we got them a house. They moved in & have come back every year since...end of story :).

Toy in PA
Annie G
Posts: 341
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 3:09 pm
Location: Wisconsin/Portage

My love for martins started when I was about 7 years old. We were living in New Ulm, Minnesota at the time and the house down the alley from us had about 3 Mss12's full of martins. I would hear them all the time, so I would sneak down the alley and watch them from the corner of the garage. The people that had the martins were an older couple and I was afraid of them, only being 7 myself, so I would run when I saw them coming out of their house. I was raising homing pigeons at the time and one day when we went to the feed store to buy pigeon food, there in the window was a beautiful brown and yellow wooden 2 story martin house for sale. I think the price was about $13.00 which was alot of money for my dad who was a minister and a father of 6. It took awhile and alot of begging, oh and did I say alot of begging? After we put it up it took 6 years to get my first pair. The worst thing about it was we ended up moving that summer, but the best thing was I was hooked. This will be the 21st year trying. Maybe next year! Ann in Wi.
Posts: 876
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:37 am
Location: Pembroke Pines, FL

Curiosity got the better of me when i was 11, first time i noticed a Martin House. Ever since, now at 27 i have been fascinated by them.
"We can judge the heart of man by his treatment of animals." - Immanual Kant.

I started noticing PMs after I started this job. I am a delivery driver, and I drive through some Amish/Mennonite neighborhoods everyday. I fell in love with the PMs, but at that time, my house was bordered by about five acres of woods, and I didn't think I could have PMs. Then, about five years ago, the woods were bulldozed down to make way for a new townhouse development. Suddenly I had an almost clear flyway to the lake that starts about 100 yards from my house. One day I was at Walmart, and I saw a martin house and pole for sale. It was the middle of June before I got it up, and I don't remember even getting one visitor, but it didn't matter. I was already in love!!! :o)
Post Reply