Purple Martins in 2023 Our Journey

by Gene
(Douglas County, Kansas)

Wow! it's been 17 years (2024) since the Wild-Bird-Watching Purple Martin setup was first established.

I began with a 12-unit S&K plastic martin house and for 2 years nothing happened. In the third year, an un-mated also known as "Second Year" male began coming around.

purple martin gourd rack with 24 plastic gourds

Our 2023 Purple Martin Gourd Rack

Still, nothing happened until the 4th season. That's when that same male returned as a full-grown Male Purple Martin.

He attracted a mate and raised 6 young and I was thrilled, to say the least.

The following year was the same, 1 pair and 6 young raised again.

Fast forward to 2023 and I had 9 pair with young that should be fledging in a couple of weeks.

Trees have encroached and reduced the number who nest here. These birds don't like trees too close as they know predators use them to hide.

My highest count was 18 pairs (36 adult birds) and I felt that was plenty to monitor.

The setup now is a multi-gourd rack from S&K with 24 gourds that are mostly from S&K but I also have a couple known as Troyer Horizontals.

An established Purple Martin colony is one of the great joys of backyard birding and I encourage anyone who is interested to give it a try.

female purple martin on gourd

Female Purple Martin

Here is some information about Attracting Purple Martins

If you have a couple of open flyways clear of trees and buildings and other trees 60 or more feet away, you might be able to attract these birds to your yard.

Of course, living east of the Rockies is a must for this species. West of the Rockies is a whole other game.


It's now May 2024, and it looks like we'll be hosting about 10 pairs of martins this season.

a pair of purple martins on gourds

A Pair of Martins

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