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How to Protect Purple Martins from Predators and Keep them Thriving in Your Yard

A birdhouse outside

Attracting purple martins to your yard seems like a win-win deal: you get to enjoy their beauty and activity, and they have a safe place to feed, nest, and relax — at least, until they catch the attention of local predators, both winged and four-legged. Have you unwittingly lured them into a trap?

Now, they have to be on the alert. They can’t enjoy the carefree life of munching on seeds and flying about. Somehow, there’s got to be a safer arrangement.

Keeping Predators Away from Purple Martins and Birdhouses with Passive Protection

Some people will take the defensive route and try to find a way to keep the predators out of their yard. They’ll try such measures as specialized fences, netting, or fake owls, poles keeping birdhouses out of reach, and specialized homes to avoid winged predators and even snakes that prey on these beautiful birds.

Clever Predators Keep You on Your Toes

Many predators are used to figuring out an effective strategy. Birds perch on nearby tree branches waiting for Purple Martins to come out on the ledge of their home, and clever raccoons find a way to climb the pole supporting the birdhouse. It’s a challenge to keep all predators away, but you may be able to address the ones that are of particular concern in your area.

Focusing the Battle on Pole-Based Access Strategies

Pole-mounted Purple Martin homes can be protected by ingenious pole obstacles that are designed to address specific threats such as pole-climbing mammals and even snakes. One popular type looks like a car muffler, providing climbing obstacles on the outside. With holes at the top, it tricks snakes into thinking they are on the way to their prey when it’s actually a dead end.

Prefab Martin Mansions Provide Well-Thought-Out Protection

If you’re willing to welcome large numbers of Purple Martins, there are beautiful, well-designed homes for up to a dozen or more that include porch and entry designs specifically created for them. These homes let you enjoy watching their domestic life and help them eat and nest safely while keeping out of reach from below and from the sky.

Gourds Are Cute Homes for Purple Martins, with Some Protective Options Available

Some homeowners prefer hanging gourd-style Purple Martin homes, but it can be a challenge to locate each one away from most predators’ reach. A great alternative is a “gourd tree,” a graceful, wrought-iron or other metal stand with curled arms that provide branches to hold gourds family-style.

Scaring Off Predators but Keeping Your Space Safe for the Purple Martins

You can a more active approach to deterrent, letting dogs roam your yard with a fence or wire run, hoping to discourage visitors. It’s hard to provide an aggressive deterrent that doesn’t also keep the Purple Martins on their guard, defeating the purpose. Since many predators operate under the cover of darkness, motion-sensing lights or automated dog barking sounds can help in some cases. Baited traps and relocation could help remove offending mammals, and removing other attractions that bring them to the area such as accessible garbage containers or outdoor pet feeding areas can make predators less determined to enter your protected yard.

Traditional Ways to Mark Your Territory Against Bird Predators

There are also traditional deterrents such as sprinkling predator urine in key places or otherwise marking the territory. The smell of your pets and of humans in the area is enough to keep some minor predators away such as raccoons and skunks, but coyotes and other more powerful nocturnal visitors will assume that they have a good chance against single protectors.

Purple Martins Versus the Other Species that Want Their Homes

Purple Martins also face competition for nesting sites, so it’s important to protect against unwelcome starling or sparrow squatters in your Purple Martin homes. The size of the birdhouse opening should be designed to exclude larger species of birds, and special traps are available for both birdhouses and gourd-style Purple Martin housing that allow you to humanely handle these intruders’ incursions.

A Defense that Disguises Itself as an Offensive Protection — Nite Guard Solar

One way to keep many unwelcome predators away is to confront them with a predator of your own, or at least one that they won’t want to take chances with. By day it’s a small device with a solar panel, mounted at about eye level and charging its battery for another night on duty. By night it’s the eyes of an unknown predator, reflecting light in the bushes or other hiding place while it waits for prey. This is the Nite Guard Solar device that has served many Purple Martin hosts well, and keeps many yards, ranches, and farms protected against the unfortunate incursion of wild animals among the domesticated ones.

Give Night Guard a Try or Get More Predator Information

For more information about Nite Guard Solar and the ways that it can be used to protect your beloved Purple Martins, contact us. If you call, our people can offer an amazing amount of information for your specific situation, including help identifying predators that may be visiting already. We even do scat identification! If you’re ready to give Nite Guard Solar a try, order right from our website and enjoy this practical device throughout your property.

Categories: Owl, Raccoon