How did we get interested in being Purple Martin landlords? In 2004, our son bought us a S&K Martin house for Christmas. We began our search to find out what type of bird used this type house. We learn that the North American migratory bird called the Purple Martin or Progne Subis is the largest of the swallow family and that they migrate from Brazil to North American each year to mate and raise their young. We also read that we would need a pole that could be raised and lowered to do the weekly nest checks. The pole should have a height of 12 to 14 feet. We’re learning!
In the spring of 2005, we placed the pole and house in an area of our back yard that had a good clear flight path and away from trees. In March of 2005, we had 2 pair of martins that decided to call the S&K house home. We were so excited to watch their flight and listen to their chatter. We fledged 7 young that year and we were hooked on being Purple Martin landlords.
In 2008 we found a group of dedicated Purple Martin Landlords in Grand Prairie, TX who called themselves Purple Martin Landlords of North Texas. Ms. Gisela Fregoe was the president and founder of this organization. We decided to check them out. They held monthly meetings at the Grand Prairie Library where Gisela conducted educational training and mentoring for new and established landlords. We learned most of what we know about Purple Martins from attending those monthly meeting where everyone shared their landlord experiences and ideas. A wonderful group of folks.
Long ago we retired the S&K house and decided to replace that with two gourd racks. We now have forty-two nesting cavities that we pre-build each spring with the soft East Texas pine needles and a spoon of Diatomaceous Earth to help control those pesky mites.
Last year we had a slow start due to the unusual cold temperatures in February 2021, but were able to fledge 131 fledglings. 2022 is looking much better. We purchased two Bling cameras this year and placed them in two of the gourds to monitor two of the nests. Things seem to be going very well and with our weekly nest checks, it appears 2022 will be another great season.