Two years ago I relocated back to Illinois after spending several years in Kansas.
While living in the Sunflower State I discovered how much more martins prefer natural gourds over aluminum or plastic housing.
My first spring back I hung 12 gourds and had 9 pairs. And these were adult birds which left there established colonies to move into the gourds!
Last year I hung 23 gourds and had 20 pairs. I will never use aluminum houses again. If you are having trouble attracting Martins I suggest giving gourds a try. I use thick walled ones grown in the south.
I have had a lifelong interest in purple martins as a neighbor had two nesting sites on long poles in our rural community of New Burlington north of Cincinnati, Ohio.
My mom and dad were city folks who purchased 5 acres early in their marriage and subsequently developed it into a small "farm" with a barn for livestock and chickens plus a very large vegetable garden and several fruit trees. I was the youngest of five children and have always loved the country
Four of the five of us went on to college to pursue professional careers but never lost our love for the country. I moved to Kansas City to pursue a business career and there met and married a young lady (a real city girl) who encouraged me to pursue my passion for the country. Though still interested in a suburban lifestyle closer to the city, we purchased a farm in Miami Cty, KS.
With the pleasant memory of martin watching in my youth but little knowledge of their nesting habits I raised my first martin house over 25 years ago in a woodsey area...and began to wait.
Now retired we built a modest "weekender" on the 110 acre site and I started reading about the birds and then discovered that my house(s) were misplaced.
This past winter I erected a martin house with more appealing features... great glide space close to a neighboring farmhouse with children. Now I know how much the birds love both open spaces and people. We have martins!!!
This winter I plan to erect a third house along an adjacent rural road close to an open pasture. Please advise on books I can purchase to learn more about expanding this rookery.