Soon It Will Be Time for Purple Martin Scouts to Arrive

by Donna Lewis

I’ve been out all last week taking advantage of the warm weather to get the housing ready to open for the returning Purple Martins. Martin Landlords everywhere are getting excited and waiting for that first magical song of the first scout seeking this year’s home. The scouts are the older birds who want first pick of the accommodations.

The first photo is the Gourd Rack. It has the gourds and owl guards attached now, and I have plugged the entrance’s with cloth. I will not raise it nor open any gourds until the scouts start arriving. Then I only open a few at a time, hopefully preventing non-martins from taking over the gourds. House sparrows, blue-birds, starlings, barred owls, and snakes would like to get in. Most will eat or just kill the martins for their nests. Only the sweet little blue-birds are just there looking for a home.

Ready to accept new friends, repelling all enemies.

I will also have to install the racoon baffle, the decoys and the snake guards soon.

Yes, it’s a lot of work.  Our friends the martins are on just about everyone’s menu.

The second photo is of the plastic decoys used to make the martins think their friends are there also. I call the decoys Heckle and Jeckle. They also serve as a target for owl attacks.

Heckle and Jeckle, all ready to attract friends.

The third photo shows one decoy attached.

That must be Heckle.

The last photo is the apartment rack. It is lowered for adding the nest boxes with fresh pine-needles and again blocking the entrance holes off till the martins arrive.

All cleaned out and ready for new tenants.

The houses were cleaned at the end of the year and plugged. I used the wet/dry vacuum to get any spider webs or other insects out.

I’ll raise the house as the scouts arrive. How exciting!

How do I know when the scouts are here?  They fly around the structures and call. Anyone would know when they have arrived.

It’s a wonderful event.

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