Written by an area Landscape Architect and birdwatcher with over 30 years of experience with landscaping in north Texas: what works and what doesn't. Emphasis on attracting birds to north Texas yards, and reducing required yard maintenance. Tips, trivia and proven advice for a natural, low-cost approach for this unique and sensitive part of the country.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Put out the welcome mat now for Purple Martins
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 Yost87@charter.net in Denton.