La. passer sparrow, small
Largest swallow, about eight inches long
with a twelve inch wingspan. Dark steel-blue except for brownish black
La. forma form, kind, species
La. hirundo a swallow
Gr. Prokne mythological King
Tereus, Philomela, and
Prokne were turned into
birds, a hoopoe, a
nightingale, and a swallow
La. subis a kind of bird
R. Bruce Horsfall
Female is brownish above and grayish
Long thin speedy wings, moderately
Purple Martins inhabit most of temperate North America from Mexico
throughout the eastern U.S., north to Newfoundland, Ontario,
Saskatchewan and Manitoba, in parts of the southwest and along the
Pacific coast. Winters in northern South America.
Builds nests of twigs, leaves, grasses,
feathers, odd rubbish and sometimes mud, formerly in natural or
abandoned tree hollows and rock crevices, now mostly in the popular
martin houses or other nest boxes, gourds and a few in roof eaves.
Lays three to five
white eggs, which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about
another three weeks.
Scatters out over the country catching
flying insects in graceful almost falcon like flight, each parent
returning to feed their young about one hundred times between sunup and
Social birds, greeting each other gurgling
and chattering, even visiting each
other's nests. Martins need monitoring and special care. Mobs of
English Sparrows sometimes drive the weaker colonies from their homes
which is why Martin houses should contain several homes or multiple nest
boxes should be mounted.
|Colonies often just disappear
because they are driven away by pests or because they are attracted to a
nicer Martin house. They feed on available flying insects depending on
the area and seasonal fly hatches, moths, dragonflies, butterflies,
horse flies, and deer flies.
gonflies, butterflies, horse flies, and deer flies. They typically fly
and feed low in cooler, cloudy weather and higher on warm sunny days.
They migrate south about the middle of August in large flocks. In
southern U.S. they return as early as February and in Canada as late as
F. C. Hennessey
The preponderance of Purple Martins
now nest in artificially provided structures although there are rare
reports of pairs or colonies nesting in their historical homes in cliff
nooks, tree hollows and woodpecker holes, usually in the west.
Their popularity and reliance on
martin houses has created one of the great North American Pastimes:
attracting colonies of dozens of martins to apartment like birdhouses
mounted high in wide open backyards. Enticing colonies to occupy
martin houses is so competitive enthusiasts utilize the latest research
and tips - white paint to keep houses cool in the hot sun, room sizes,
entrance hole sizes, specially designed holes shaped to deter intruders,
railings to protect the new born from falling, guards against crawling
and flying predators and more.
Read on for more
information on attracting colonies, when to raise martin houses, the
care they need and protection from predators.
Page 2: Attracting and Caring for