Here's a link to 3 photos of a martin taken through my spotting scope. This technique, called digiscoping can give great close-ups with lots of detail.
2002 Season
The first scouts, pictured right, arrived in February.  Here they are seen checking out a nice clean house, which was put up as soon as we saw the first martins in the area.  We kept the plugs in some of the holes to stop the sparrows and starlings getting in, before the rest of the martins arrive.  By mid-April the first immature martins had arrived and nest building began a couple of days later.

We do weekly nest checks to monitor the progress of nest building and the health and welfare of the nestlings. On June 15th, 13 young, from 4 nests, had fledged.  By July 24th, a total of 18 young had fledged, and only the B5 compartment had 3 nestlings still in it, due to a late start.  In fact, there were 3 late nests this year, because a destructive male house sparrow got into several nest compartments and destroyed the eggs on about May 26th. Two nests were completely abandoned and the 2 pairs of martins left, but 3 pairs did lay again. Click here for the photos of the young in these 3 nests, taken during a nest check on July 4th, 2002. All 8 of these late nestlings fledged successfully, giving a total of 21 young martins for the 2002 season.
There is a lot of information on the Internet about Purple Martins and how to be a Purple Martin landlord. Here's a
link
to the Purple Martin Conservation Association webpage, and the Purple Martin Forum.
We've been attracting purple martins to our backyard for the last 6 years, and each year the colony has increased in size.

In the first year we knew very little about these lovely birds and just went out and bought an aluminum house at our local Home Improvement store. We didn't realise that to help the martins, you need to be able to do weekly nest checks, and the martin house we had bought, did not have front doors that opened to make these nest inspections easy. However, we did have one pair of martins nest that year.

In the summer of 2000, we had several pairs of martins nesting in our house. At the end of the season we usually take the house down, to clean it, then we don't put it back up until we see martin scouts back. This is to stop the house sparrows from getting in and taking over. That year we didn't get around to taking it down, which was fortunate for one female Purple Martin which turned up on Dec. 12th, 2000. See this page for more details.

After 3 years the house was showing signs of wear and tear, so in early 2001 we bought a new house - a Trio Mini Castle - also hexagonal, with 12 nest compartments. We had 7 pairs of martins nesting and not too much trouble from the pesky house sparrows!


               Photos of the new house are posted below.


My Purple Martin Colony
Years: 1999 to 2002
 



This page was last updated on: May 4, 2005

We've been attracting purple martins to our backyard for the last 6 years, and each year the colony has increased in size.

In the first year we knew very little about these lovely birds and just went out and bought an aluminum house at our local Home Improvement store. We didn't realise that to help the martins, you need to be able to do weekly nest checks, and the martin house we had bought, did not have front doors that opened to make these nest inspections easy. However, we did have one pair of martins nest that year.

In the summer of 2000, we had several pairs of martins nesting in our house. At the end of the season we usually take the house down, to clean it, then we don't put it back up until we see martin scouts back. This is to stop the house sparrows from getting in and taking over. That year we didn't get around to taking it down, which was fortunate for one female Purple Martin which turned up on Dec. 12th, 2000. See this page for more details.

After 3 years the house was showing signs of wear and tear, so in early 2001 we bought a new house - a Trio Mini Castle - also hexagonal, with 12 nest compartments. We had 7 pairs of martins nesting and not too much trouble from the pesky house sparrows!


               Photos of the new house are posted below.


The view from my second floor deck, showing the location of the martin house and golf course. The house is in a good open location with the lake nearby, and is still in fairly close proximity to our house, which the martins seem to prefer.
2000 season
Second season - Spring 1999, when the first martins were checking out the house
Third season - June 2000, shortly before the juveniles fledged
1999 season
There is a lot of information on the Internet about Purple Martins and how to be a Purple Martin landlord. Here's a
link
to the Purple Martin Conservation Association webpage, and the Purple Martin Forum.
2002 Season
The first scouts, pictured right, arrived in February.  Here they are seen checking out a nice clean house, which was put up as soon as we saw the first martins in the area.  We kept the plugs in some of the holes to stop the sparrows and starlings getting in, before the rest of the martins arrive.  By mid-April the first immature martins had arrived and nest building began a couple of days later.

We do weekly nest checks to monitor the progress of nest building and the health and welfare of the nestlings. On June 15th, 13 young, from 4 nests, had fledged.  By July 24th, a total of 18 young had fledged, and only the B5 compartment had 3 nestlings still in it, due to a late start.  In fact, there were 3 late nests this year, because a destructive male house sparrow got into several nest compartments and destroyed the eggs on about May 26th. Two nests were completely abandoned and the 2 pairs of martins left, but 3 pairs did lay again. Click here for the photos of the young in these 3 nests, taken during a nest check on July 4th, 2002. All 8 of these late nestlings fledged successfully, giving a total of 21 young martins for the 2002 season.
Trio Mini Castle type of martin house
Here's a link to 3 photos of a martin taken through my spotting scope. This technique, called digiscoping can give great close-ups with lots of detail.
© Helen Baines 2002
It's not easy to do nest checks in the first type of martin house that we bought. Here we removed the top layer to see what was going on in the bottom nest compartments. These large nestlings were the first to fledge in June, 2000.
purple martin scouts