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Purple Martin Houses

Purple Martins are an extremely popular bird throughout the eastern and mid-western United States, and for good reason!  The Purple Martin is unique in that it is the only species of bird in the US that almost exclusively relies on human supplied housing.  It’s believed that over the course of hundreds or even thousands of years, Purple Martins changed their behavior from nesting in abandoned nests made by other birds to nesting in homes provided by Native Americans and American-settlers.  For Purple Martins, nesting near humans provided protection against predators, and this safety helped the Purple Martin population grow.  Humans also benefitted from the relationship, maybe even more than the birds.  Along with keeping other birds like crows away from human’s crops, Purple Martins may have also acted as alarms for alerting the presence of a stranger or predator, controlled flying pest populations, and may have even acted as a calendar for some.  Not to mention their beautiful and relaxing vocals.  Listening to and watching the Purple Martins definitely must have been a treat after a long day of work!

This mutually beneficial relationship still exists today, and Purple Martins may even need humans now more than ever.  The introduction of European Starlings and House Sparrows to North America in the 1800’s has certainly been a detriment to Purple Martins, as these birds aggressively pursue Purple Martin nesting spots.  For this reason, it’s very important for humans to practice being a good “landlord” to Purple Martins by clearing non-Purple Martin nests from Purple Martin designated homes.  The Lantern Hill offers a variety of Purple Martin homes and accessories so that you can join in conserving and enjoying this wonderful species!

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