Hales Corners - Bird City

Purple Martin Video

Purple Martin Houses

Attracting Purple Martins

Purple Martin Sounds

As part of our status as a Bird City, Hales Corners residents are urged to get involved in the conservation of Purple Martins. The largest member of the swallow family in North America, they eat only flying insects which they catch in flight. Their diet is diverse, including such things as flies, Japanese beetles and wasps. Unfortunately it does not include a lot of mosquitoes since the birds feed during the day when mosquitoes are generally not active.

Martins spend the winter in Brazil and migrate to North America to nest. East of the Rockies they are totally dependent on human-supplied housing, so providing housing is vital to their survival. However, establishing a breeding colony requires effort and proper management. Houses should be placed in the center of the most open spot available, about 30-120 feet from human housing. Height of the housing can be anywhere from 10-20 feet. There should be no trees taller than the housing within 40 feet. Housing should be light in color to reflect the sun and keep nestlings cooler. Unfortunately, other birds will often compete for the housing so active monitoring and removal of their nesting material may be necessary.

This is just a brief overview of helping to conserve and increase Purple Martin populations. For more information and links to conservation organizations, visit
Purple Martin Conservation