S&K FAQ's, Instructions, and Movies
The Purple Martin Basics are listed below:
You and many others today share your love of the martin with many past generations of people who have lived on this continent. S&K Manufacturing has the latest in technology and innovation in purple martin housing. We want to improve your chances of attracting this magnificent bird, with some background on purple martins and their present day requirements.
HISTORY: The purple martin’s association with man goes back many years to the days when Native Americans hung gourds out for them. People later started erecting multi-compartment units in hopes of attracting this wonderful bird, and eventually martin houses made of other materials and plastic gourds began to be manufactured. Over the years martins in the entire section of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains have become totally dependent on man for nesting sites. Since the fate of these beautiful birds is now in our hands, it is extremely important that we provide adequate housing in which they can raise their young, and also that we can properly manage it. Purple Martins migrate from the Amazon Valley in Brazil northward to North America. This means primarily all the states east of the Rock Mountain Chain, approximately 37 states and parts of the 6 Canadian provinces.Migrating up to 7,000 miles (see Map). Please refer to the purple martin map to see when purple martins will be migrating to your area. Migration Time Table: 5 months in the nesting Area, 3 months in Brazil , and 4 months in migration.
LOCATING HOUSING: Often people with good intentions purchase a martin house or gourds, wanting to
attract this bird, but they aren’t adequately prepared to be responsible landlords. You should be aware of
some facts to better your chances of being successful. One important piece of knowledge is that the martin
has natural predators, such as owls, hawks, snakes, and raccoons; predator guards can be obtained for use
on the housing to help prevent them from killing the martins. You should also erect your housing in the
most open area available.Martins will not inhabit a house placed under a tree because of the threat of owls,
hawks, and other possible predators. It is recommended that the housing be at least 40-60 feet from any
trees taller than the housing.Martins feel a sense of protection being close to people, so place your housing
close to human dwellings in a place that offers adequate open area with enough room and time for
them to be able to flee when they see aerial predators.
KEEPING YOUR COLONY: What can you as a martin landlord do to prevent this destruction from occurring
at your martin colony? The key to getting and keeping a successful martin colony is to manage it properly.
Since we at S&K Manufacturing, Inc. are concerned about the future of the purple martin,we have designed
our new line of housing to help you successfully manage a martin colony. Our sturdy poles allow for lowering
of the housing and therefore easy inspection to monitor the progress of each martin family and
ensure that all is going well. The newly enlarged compartments in the house and larger size of the gourds
promote better breeding success of the martins; they tend to raise more babies when provided with roomier
nesting cavities. In addition to the improvements already mentioned, another new feature is the crescent-
shaped entrance holes that keep out virtually all starlings. In very rare instances, a starling that is
smaller than normal might be able to enter the cavities; however, this is by far the exception. Although the
entrance holes will prevent all or mostly all starlings from entering the cavities meant for martins, they will
not deter house sparrows; this is because of the smaller size of these birds. A responsible martin colony
manager, however, can and should be vigilant about keeping them out of the housing. No bird except purple
martins should be allowed in the martin house/gourds.Martins, in all likelihood, will not nest in housing
in which another species has already established its territory; the martins will be chased off by the other
birds. If you notice any birds other than martins trying to lay claim to the housing, plug up the holes if you
don’t yet have martins and force the birds to go elsewhere. If they are native birds like Bluebirds and Tree
Swallows, put up separate housing for them. But you should never allow house sparrows or starlings to get
started building nests in houses or gourds that are much needed by the purple martin, whose population
has dwindled in the past century. Law protects the purple martin, being native to this continent, but not the
English house sparrow and European starling. Most people just simply are not aware of what damage these
two non-native species are doing to our native cavity-nesting birds and ecosystem.
A FINAL THOUGHT: As you can see by now, there is more to being a successful martin landlord than merely
buying a house and/or gourds, putting them up and letting nature take its course.Your interest in Purple
Martins already demonstrates your desire to attract purple martins.We have provided you with the latest
in housing design and web site links to help you accomplish your goal of having a healthy and thriving purple
martin colony that will last for years. It is our recommendation that your next step be to use available
resources such as the internet or recent editions of books on this bird. Knowledge goes a long way toward
attracting purple martins and having them return to your location year after year.Reading about them and
sharing your hobby with others will tremendously help the purple martin in its fight for survival. Our best
wishes in your endeavors, S&K Manufacturing, Inc.
A GREAT SOURCE OF INFORMATION: Visit and Join or PMCCA.org Today!
You can communicate and be in the loop with what’s going on in
your club, hobby, business, etc.. Even from across the country or world. It is easy and quick to share your
ideas, your pictures, and information that are important to you. Remember you can create a calendar of
nest checks, bird watching events and other important occasions. FREE Membership which is
completely paid for by S&K Manufacturing,