How to Protect Purple MartinsHaving the opportunity to look after one or more purple martin homes can be both a fun and challenging pastime, fun because of the incredible bird-watching opportunities, and challenging due to the presence of purple martin predators. Like a chicken coop, a garden, and a meadow with grazing livestock, a purple martin home is a single location with a high concentration of prey, making it an attractive hunting prospect for predators like owl, raccoon, and other bird-eating animals.
Enjoy the company of your purple martins by employing the following predator protection strategies from the experts at Nite Guard Solar. Once you learn how to protect purple martins from predator attacks, you will be able to rest assured that your purple martin colony will feel safe enough in their houses that they will return for another season of nesting.
Aerial Predators: Homes vs. GourdsWhether you have chosen to attract a purple martin colony by raising a home or a handful of gourds, the focus should be on eliminating interior access to aerial predators, such as owls. Purple martin homes often feature a “porch” right outside the entry holes. These porches offer owls with a place to rest while reaching through the entry hole for purple martins. Ideally, your purple martin housing should not include features that allow predators an easier hunting experience.
Since purple martin gourds have no features on which an owl can easily rest, in this way, the gourds are more of an ideal living situation than homes.
However, simply because gourds lack a porch does not mean that they provide complete predator protection.
Owls are highly intelligent hunters, and can adapt their hunting style so that they can still successfully capture purple martins even if they are nesting in a gourd. In such cases, it is best to install either owl guards, which are curved pieces of metal that bar owls from getting close to a gourd's entry, or chicken wire.
Ground Predators: Pole Predator GuardGround predators, like raccoon, can easily climb up the pole of a purple martin home. To block access to ground predators, install a pole predator guard.
Nite Guard Solar LightsThough the ideal situation would be keeping after purple martins with zero predator threats, such a situation is far from reality. Therefore, the best possible encounter with a predator would involve the predator not coming near the purple martin colony at all. To effectively keep predators like owl and raccoon at bay, install Nite Guard Solar lights. Our predator deterrent lights have been used by many purple martin owners over the years with great success.
The installation of the lights will differ depending upon the predator in question. If owl are preying on your purple martin home, then the lights should be installed above the home or gourds. You can install Nite Guard Solar lights by mounting the lights directly on the home's pole. Another installation option is to mount the lights on a separate post.
For small ground predators, such as raccoon, the lights should be installed at the predator's eye level, so around 10” - 15” from the ground.