Sunday, January 23, 2011

purple martins are coming

Today we put up the purple martin gourds. We follow the Puple Martin flight map on a website and it shows they are close to us now. They usually come in at the end of January or first few weeks of February. This is the first time we've put up our six gourds since we sold the house.
Hopefully we will see a scout this week.
At the old farm we raised many generations of the little purple birds. We dutifully put up their habitat, counted the eggs and recorded how many babies they had.
Those little purple guys were my constant companions during spring and early summer. They were with me, swooping close by or watching with heads poking out of their little houses as I walked the herb rows.
Our cat "Fuzz" used to watch them with a twitching tail and ears laid back, but he never came close to catching one of them.

The "dawn song" they sang in early sunrise was beautiful. Other calls were the "scolding" song, the "I love to fly" song, the "come out and learn to fly" and the "lets go to sleep" song. We often felt that they were talking right to us.
Their housing was on the southern side of the garden, a perfect place for us to watch them and them to scold us.
Since purple martins love to be around humans they made a lovely addition to the natural show that awaited us every morning.
I can't wait for them to come back!


PurpleMartins-R-Us said...

Very nice blog. I love my purple martins. Important to encourage others to put up purple martin houses since purple martin numbers are dropping in much of their range. For anyone interested in learning more about martins visit the PMCA or

sunflowerherbfarm said...

Thanks for the tips. Our new site doesn't have a human house on it yet, we are about to build. But the tip to put some leaves and mud is good, thanks for that, we didn't know! We were about to clean them out! We had a thriving colony at our old home, 6 houses full and all the babies. We maintained it for about 10 years. It was a sad day when we moved. I felt as though I were abandoning them. We will follow-up with you,

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Comfrey Cottages said...

Love your pictures! purple martins are so wonderful! we still have a ways to go before we put ours up here in Illinois xx

sunflowerherbfarm said...

we went out today to look for scouts, but no one yet. according to our records, they have never been this late.

Comfrey Cottages said...

Oh wow, that seems weird they would be late. Do you have any ideas why? I saw something odd this weekend, a robin, which are really our heralds of spring, and it is definetely not spring here yet in Illinois! My husband read somewhere that some of them didn't migrate this year... strange...

sunflowerherbfarm said...

We still have robins, many, many of them. We saw a huge flock today.
Since we aren't at the farm everyday, we may have missed seeing the scouts. The actual nesting birds don't arrive until end of Feb. It could be the extreme temperatures too. The martins will sometimes hole up at a more southern spot until the weather warms up. They have been spotted in Louisiana. The PMA (purple martin association) website shows that they are moving this way.