In areas where Purple Martins are common some landlords may be lucky enough to attract nesting Purple Martins their first year. In other cases it may take several years to establish a colony.
Purple Martins are colonial nesters, which means they like to nest in groups. The attraction tools listed here below help make your backyard seem like an active colony site and therefore, more attractive to any investigating martins.
Vocalizations: Dawnsong—the most effective Purple Martin attraction tool. The Dawnsong is a song that the adult male Purple Martin sings during the pre-dawn hours. This song is used to attract other Purple Martins to the breeding site. You can purchase a copy of the Dawnsong CD here.
Daytime Chatter—sounds of an active Purple Martin colony site. The Dawnsong is best played between 4am-7am, the Daytime Chatter can be played from late morning throughout the afternoon. If you are only going to use one attraction tool, it should be the Dawnsong.
Decoys: Decoys should be life-sized and painted black—you only need to display adult males. Decoys should be placed where they are easily visible for martins flying overhead; on a top perch, railing, or clinging to a cavity. You can make your own decoy or purchase them here.
Nesting Material: Construct fake martin nests out of twigs, dried soft pine needles, and straw. Line the nest with green leaves. This will signal to any investigating martins that the colony site is active and therefore, more attractive.
Mirrors: Using small mirrors inside the cavities may also help. Place a small mirror (the mirror from a woman’s compact works well) on the inside of the cavity, on a side or back wall.
Utilizing one, or a combination of the techniques above will help increase your chances of attracting these beautiful birds to your colony site.