Location, location, location! One of the most important steps in attracting Purple Martins is choosing the right location for your martin housing. Martins prefer housing that is placed in open areas with clear flyways. Choose the center of the largest open spot available, about 30-120 feet from human housing and at least 40-60 feet from trees. In the southern half of their breeding range, martins may accept housing that is placed within 25 feet of trees, but open areas are always best.
Place the housing where you can enjoy watching the birds. Entrance orientation—north, east, south, or west—doesn’t matter. But once the martins have arrived, make sure the housing is kept in the same orientation. If the housing spins or twists around the pole and is not reoriented, the martins may become disoriented and abandon their nests. Do not attach any wires to the house or pole that may lead to trees, buildings, or the ground as they may allow predators to access the housing.
Even if you don’t live in an area that is suitable for hosting Purple Martins there are still ways to become involved. Are there any nearby parks or schools that could host Purple Martins? Is there a nice open location at your place of work? Spread the joy of Purple Martins by helping to establish and manage a public Purple Martin colony.