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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Put out the welcome mat now for Purple Martins


Purple Martins
Purple Martins start scouting out potential housing in north Texas in late February. They’ll keep looking (until they find a home) into late April. Lots of people are “landlords” because Martins are pleasant singers, and exceptionally good and graceful fliers. They look for multi-unit homes on a tall pole. The housing they prefer to nest in is usually the kind that comes in a box, is well-ventilated, and isn’t welcoming to other birds. White is by far the best color in Texas, since it reflects heat. The homes are typically made of aluminum, and look like little apartments with round doors.  The dimensions of the holes, and the “apartment” itself, are crucial in deterring predators and excluding pests.

Not all yards are good for Martins, however.  They need a treeless (grassy) circle around the house with a radius of about 25 to 50 feet, so they can hunt for insects an fly around.



OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton. 

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