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Have Fun Plus Help Our Ecosystem by Raising Purple Martins

Kenneth Avery is a Southern humorist with well over a thousand fans. The charm and wit in his writing span a nearly a decade.

"Homes" for the Purple Martins.

"Homes" for the Purple Martins.

Fans of the Purple Martin are eager as to their origin. In the West, Purple Martins have remained with woodpecker holes in mountain forests or Pacific lowlands. Purple Martin winter locales are savannas and agricultural fields in Bolivia, Brazil, and other places in South America. Nighttime, is where wintering martins flock into towns to roost, often in the trees of village plazas.

To give my dad, rest his soul, my full-honor, I want to share about his love of the Purple Martins and how he raised them for over 34 years. He didn't just love these wonderful birds, he had a passion for them and their survival. This included cleaning inside and out of each gourd that he had placed on his homemade pole which he designed from a discarded TV pole and with a litle of his rural ingenuity, he had a place for about 22 gourds that were homes for Purple Martins each spring that came.

I helped him toward the final years of life, but the absolute saddest moments were when he was ordered by his doctor, to be placed in a home-style hospital bed to, as we knew as he did too, that these two months that he lived were his last on earth.

But what a full, rich life that God blessed him with. My dad was 89 when he went to Heaven and prior to his dilapidated health, he was a busy man for all of his years. From being a self-taught auto mechanic, briek mason, carpenter, and taught himself how to play the violin at the age of six. He also did his time in the U.S. Army and when his time was over, he came home to devote his time to farming to help feed (me), my sister, and mother.

My dad was a proud man. Not the proud as some think that he was too good to have dirty hands, no. He walked and drove numerous miles to help someone who needed help. Many times at dark when we were in bed. This was around 1953, when I was born. And I began to notice how special my dad was when I was seven.

Thank God, a big part of his retirement from a brand-name bearing plant, was having a good-sized produce garden, and yes, to help us and those around us.

Purple Martins became a big part of his life in 1960 and he left the world loving these birds of help by catching mosquitoes and gnats to help or Ecosystem. I can recall the last time when we cleaned-out his gourds. I sensed then that after we finished, he would not tend to his Martins again.

I will close my adding: Purple Martins are not as much of a luxury as they are a necessity. And if you are a Purple Martin owner, caretaker, consider yourself to be blessed to be such a big part of the Purple Martins and their place with us on this earth.

But what a full, rich life that God blessed him with. My dad was 89 when he went to Heaven and prior to his dilapidated health, he was a busy man for all of his years.

From being a self-taught auto mechanic, break mason, carpenter, and taught himself how to play the violin at the age of six. He also did his time in the U.S. Army and when his time was over, he came home to devote his time to farming to help feed (me), my sister, and mother.

My dad was a proud man. Not the proud as some think that he was too good to have dirty hands, no. He walked and drove numerous miles to help someone who needed help. Many times at dark when we were in bed. This was around 1953, when I was born. And I began to notice how special my dad was when I was seven. Thank God, a big part of his retirement from a brand-name bearing plant, was having a good-sized produce garden, and yes, to help us and those around us.

Purple Martins became a big part of his life in 1960 and he left the world loving these birds of help by catching mosquitoes and gnats to help or Ecosystem. I can recall the last time when we cleaned-out his gourds. I sensed then that after we finished, he would not tend to his Martins again.

I will close my adding: Purple Martins are not as much of a luxury as they are a necessity. And if you are a Purple Martin owner, caretaker, consider yourself to be blessed to be such a big part of the Purple Martins and their place with us on this earth.

Here are a few tips on raising Purple Martins and their homes.

Prior to the Purple Martin nesting season:

⦁ Build your new Purple Martin houses – most need putting-together with simple tools.

(you can buy Purple Martin houses on the internet and the homes are cut to be built to attract Purple Martins.

⦁ Do a very thorough job of cleaning-out old nests from existing houses and gourds and you need to disinfect the cavities by scrubbing or spraying with a weak bleach solution

⦁ Make sure that your pole sits hard in its socket or in the ground. It is very wise to cement ground sockets or poles into place. Familiarize yourself by studying the inner-workings of the pole; grease or oil the mechanisms if necessary.

⦁ Be sure to keep entry holes plugged until the nesting season begins. For mature colonies, this is sure sign when you see the first martins, or scouts. For new colonies, this will be around 3 to 6 weeks later.

  • While the Purple Martin season is still going on:
  • Take your time and put decoys and play your attractor CD’s and tapes.
  • Once Purple Martins have nested, do frequent inspections of the ground under the house – this is where you may first notice problems with predators.
  • Make frequent inspections of nests – lower the house and keep notes on what you see. This will not cause parents to leave their young!
  • If you live in an area prone to severe winters, it may be best to remove your housing from its pole. You will come out much better
  • If you live in a regular locale, take down the house, plug entry holes to keep late season birds from entering. This takes patience, but will pay you dividends in the long run.

July 14, 2021_____________________________________________

Purple Martins love to nest in a gourd that is clean.

Purple Martins love to nest in a gourd that is clean.

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© 2021 Kenneth Avery

Comments

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 15, 2021:

Your dad sounds like a hard-working wonderful family man and father. You were lucky to have him in your life for 89 years. Bird-watching can be fun. Thanks for the infomation about the purple martins.

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