Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Purple Martins Come In For a Landing

Something was distressing the Purple Martins this morning. Lately they have been quite boistrous with the new baby Purple Martins who have left their nest. However, this morning was different. They were all circling the house. Bill was out and noticed that a door was off of one of the apartments. Time for an intervention. I brought the Purple Martin house down. I looked in the now doorless apartment. What I saw were two dead Purple Martins that looked like they were ready to leave the nest. This apartment was on the same side as the Determined Sparrows' apartment. I thought now would be a good time to look at their nest because I suspected it might have dead baby sparrows. As is the case with sparrow nests, the compartment was almost full of nesting material; pieces of plastic trash as well as dried weeds. However, there were no baby sparrows, alive or dead. I'm now wondering if the Determined Sparrow even had eggs in that nest. Maybe they did and they hatched and I missed the whole thing. I carefully took out the dead Purple Martins and cleaned out their nest. I also cleaned out the Determined Sparrows' nest. It is just possibile they killed the Purple Martins because they couldn't get into their nest. After I cleaned out the nests and placed the metal door back on the one compartment, I raised the Purple Martin house back to its previous height. In a short while, all the Purple Martins swooped back in. They quickly check out the now empty compartment. The loud squawking was noticeabely diminished. Of course the Determined Sparrows came back immediately, along with the two dozen or so Purple Martins. The Determined Sparrows are undaunted to say the least. They landed on the bar below the house and looked my way as if to say "WTF?" I'll keep you all updated.


  1. Re: dead Purple Martins.
    I've been a PM landlord in KS for several years. They are an amazing bird.
    The PM's you found were most certainly killed by the sparrows (an invasisive non-native bird)
    which are often refered to as "flying rats". In any event, they should be eliminated by what ever means you're comfortable with. Personally I use a sparrow trap bought online that works great.

  2. Thank you for your advice. I'm not comfortable with the sparrows using one of the apartment in the PM birdhouse. I've been given advice both ways but the way I figure it, the sparrows can go just about anywhere to make a nest. Why do they have to make one there? My bluebirds have laid their second batch of eggs. The bluebirds I have now seem to be pretty good at defending their nest. These sparrows are determined though. I've never seen anything like it. Thanks again for your advice.

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