Last spring we put up a Purple Martin house and within a few days, we had tenants. These birds are social, and live together in colonies. The more the merrier is their mantra. Their song is a quite complicated chortle that, once you hear it, you will always recognize it. It is cheery and musical. Purple Martins are in the swallow family. They prefer to roost near a body of water, as they actually drink on the fly – skimming the surface of a pond or lake. Good for us, we have a large farm pond that is within 300 feet of where we erected the first house.
This spring, I hoped to attract more of the aerial insect eaters. We put up a tower of eight gourd shaped houses that were specifically designed for Purple Martins. The Gourd Tower sits just 16 feet from the existing red house, which we purchased at the local farm store for a good deal last April. The red house is very traditional, with two stories of side-by-side dwellings, plus two nest boxes in the dormer level on the ends. The gourds are stand-alone homes hung in close proximity to each other. The way I see it, we are offering housing to the artsy Martins and their more contemporary friends.