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Stop Snakes Invading Purple Martin Houses

By kytnbabe
July 11, 2016

My parents had stored berry/bird netting a couple of years ago and decided to get it out to cover strawberries. They found two big chicken snakes caught in it. My dad cut the dead snakes out of the netting and put the bird netting over the strawberries. Another snake was entangled. Hey! Bright idea!

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Jul 17, 2016 11:11 PM CST
what is purple martin please?
Name: Bob
Vernon N.J. (Zone 6a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Database Moderator I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Heucheras Echinacea
Hellebores The WITWIT Badge Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Region: New Jersey Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jul 21, 2016 9:24 AM CST
Some pictures.
Name: Mary Ann
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: United States of America Hostas Hummingbirder Daylilies Birds
Irises Keeps Horses Region: Kentucky Farmer Container Gardener Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jul 23, 2016 6:02 AM CST
Purple Martins are a desireable kind of bird -- desireable to have around. They feed by flying and catching flying insects, thereby clearing the air of mosquitos, gnats, flies, etc. Birds that have died and been autopsied show that they each eat up to 1,000 insects daily. They are meticulous nest builders and maintainers, and generally raise two clutches of eggs/baby Purple Martins. An investment in a Purple Martin house is an adventure -- their calls to each other are a wonderful, agreeable bubbling sound, and it's a joy to watch them fly and soar. They are people-friendly, and always return to the same house/location each season, to raise their young. The day, each year, that the Purple Martins arrive is a happy day.

They do have specific requirements -- their *house* must be in a clearing so that they have space to glide into it (sort of like an airplane runway), and it must be a specific height, give or take a little. Their preference is that the house is white, both inside and out -- they won't build nests in dark or dirty places. For this reason, caretakers are well advised to empty the nest boxes and clean the house after each season. I simply remove the nests and hose the inside of the boxes down. For these reasons, it is best to buy a designated Purple Martin house with a pole operation that allows you to run the house up and down, much like a flag pole.

Our Martins arrive every year sometime in March, and leave for winter headquarters (in South America) near the end of July. I always hate the day that they leave -- it's so quiet -- and I miss their cheerful babble.

Maybe more than you wanted to know, eh? Green Grin!
Thoughts become things -- choose the good ones. (

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