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Minnesota

MARTINS

An estimated 50,000 Purple Martins used this roost site.

THE PURPLE MARTIN (PROGNE SUBIS) IS THE ONLY MARTIN SPECIES IN MINNESOTA AND IS THE LARGEST M E M B E R O F T H E S W A L L O W F A M I L Y — are

rimental to martins early in the spring. There is also some the only songbird in North America that is dependent on evidence of issues with pesticide use and habitat destruction man-made housing; and have been a part of our natural hisin Brazil, where a majority of the martins spend the winter. tory for a long time — John James Audubon chose lodging New martin landlords have started to reverse this decline by that only had Purple Martins during his travels. installing and maintaining proper housing. The martins also had a very close relationship with the naOnly a small percentage of people who place housing attive people who provided natural gourds that were hung on tract Purple Martins.To be successful, martin landlords must poles. In the U.S. more than 1 million people place housing try to avoid some common mistakes. One is placing the out each year to attract Purple Martins. housing in the wrong location Purple Martins are about 7.5 and or habitat; an area that is inches in length with a 15.5too enclosed or under trees is inch wingspan.Their name not suitable for martins. Martins comes from their iridescent are easily repelled by the more dark blue-purple color with aggressive House Sparrow and brown blackish wings. The Starling, so it’s important to stay males appear to be darker or active with the prevention of more purple than the females, these species. Both of them will who tend to be more brownremove or destroy martin eggs ish-black with some white on and also kill the nestlings.The the breast. In flight they look color of the house can also be a bold and black with a forked factor. Studies show that white tail and wings that are long and houses are much more successtapered.This gives them the ful because they reflect heat. speed and agility to catch their Finally, any plantings under the prey – flying insects.They can housing or climbing vines up often be seen perched on telethe tower should be removed. phone lines in large numbers With some of the following where housing is often placed management tips, you can inor during migration. crease your chances of attracting Purple Martins have gone This is one of many public sites found throughout the martins and being successful through a drastic change in state. This colony is managed by Kelly Applegate at martin landlords. Study your population during the past 30 site as the location can make a Eddy’s Resort on Lake Mille Lacs. years or so. Just in the great huge difference. Martin housing lakes region the population declined by 80 percent. should be centered in the largest opening available, 30–100 There are many contributing factors to this decline. One feet away from human housing and 60 feet clear of trees (at is that their natural tree cavities became less available and/or a minimum).The two most common types of housing used were dominated by non-native house sparrows and starlings. for martins are gourds or houses or a combination.The height Cold weather that limits insect activity can also be det should be between 10 to 15 feet high.This will help you

14 M i n n e s o t a

M a r t i n s

Outdoor Traditions - Fall 2012  

• In the cross-hairs, under the microscope • Deer hunting traditions continue year after year • Brainerd Man’s Idea Rolls Out as the MN Big...

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