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Hang Gourd Bird Houses for Purple Martins to Control Flying Insect Populations

by Barbara 15. May 2012 09:22

Question about attracting Purple Martins to my yard to keep insect population under control

Q: "I'm looking for an easy-to-clean bird house for Purple Martins. Our yard attracts a lot of flies and other flying insects because we are next door to a farm. Please explain to me about the Gourd bird houses and which ones would work the best for me. How many would I need? How would I hang them? Thanks. Dave"

Answer: Currently we sell two brands of manufactured gourd bird houses. These are the Bird Adobe SuperGourds and the Purple Martin Gourds by Heath. Both come in light colors, white or almond.

The SuperGourd is a unique "bird house" was invented by James Hill Founder and past Director of the Purple Martin Conservation Association. His research revealed that martins fledge one extra nestling per nesting attempt in gourds compared to aluminum martin houses with 6” x 6” compartments. So he developed the Supergourd,

There are three models of SuperGourd. The main difference is the bird entry hole size. Each SuperGourd is a 10”, one-piece, plastic gourd with a molded-in, threaded access port, covered
by a screw-on cap. The access port is 3 7/8” in diameter, large enough to admit a human hand. The cap has a liner that makes both the cap and access port totally watertight. To do nest checks, twist the cap off. At the end of the season, clean out the old nest. The access port has a high viewing angle so it is easy to see the nest contents. The large molded-in rain canopy doubles as a perching platform. The canopy is placed high enough above the entrance hole to allow the perfect amount of head clearance for hole-perching martins. The SuperGourd weighs about 32 ounces, slightly more than a natural gourd its size. This one piece unit has no seams so there are no leaks possible. There are seven 1/4” drainage to drain any rain that may blow into the gourd. The SuperGourd is blow molded in a white (sun reflecting), opaque, high-density polyethylene plastic, with ultraviolet inhibitors added for long life. These gourds are an attractive alternative for those
landlords too busy to grow, paint, and modify natural gourds. It has all the advantages of a natural gourd without the fuss and muss of making one.

For Purple Martins, the best choices are the Round-holed SuperGourds with 2 1/8 Inch Diameter Entry Hole shown here on a gourd rack system. Or choose the Crescent-holed SuperGourds with 1-3/16 inch entrance hole that are Starling-resistant.


Easy to Hang:  SuperGourds can easily be hung underneath an existing martin house, from a gourd rack, or strung on a line between two poles. One set of 1/4" hanging holes (side-to-side) are predrilled and will accept a hanging wire; a set of front-to-back holes can easily be drilled by the purchaser if so desired.Easy to Hang:  SuperGourds can easily be hung underneath an existing martin house, from a gourd rack, or strung on a line between two poles. One set of 1/4" hanging holes (side-to-side) are predrilled and will accept a hanging wire; a set of front-to-back holes can easily be drilled by the purchaser if so desired.

When hanging SuperGourds underneath a martin house, or along a line, use #10 or #12 gauge, plastic-coated, solid (singlestrand) copper wire. Do not use copper wire that has multiple internal strands — it is not strong enough. In extremely windy areas, the #10 gauge wire is the preferred choice because it is thicker and stronger than #12. You will need about 15 inches of wire per
gourd. Insert the wire through the hanging holes so an equal amount sticks out each side. Bend the wires 90-degrees upward, then wrap each end of the wire snugly around the line, eye hooks,
porch railings, or gourd rack arm you are attaching it to. When properly hung, the gourds should swing (not twist) in the wind and should not be capable of bumping each other or other objects
in a strong wind. The top of the gourd should be about 1” below fluffy wood shavings, or dried pine needles, in each gourd Should these gourds ever reach the end of their useful life span, they can be recycled in your community’s recycling program.

You can hang these gourd birdhouses as close as with 2 foot centers. You just don't want them to bounce against each other when the wind blows.

The Heath Purple Martin Gourds are made in two pieces. One piece is longer than the other: the hanger hole is in that piece. Each gourd is about 9 inches in diameter at its widest and about 12 inches high. There is a half-moon piece of plastic in the entrance hole to discourage starling nests. To clean these, you must take them down and take the two pieces apart. These are Made in USA/

Purple martins begin nesting in June. The manufacturers suggest putting up the gourds any time. This years baby birds will be looking for a nesting place for next year. You can hand these as low as 6 feet off the ground. Add nesting materials to encourage the birds to stay. Supply aids such as nest materials like dried white pine needles, dry twigs or straw neaby. Supply mud for nest building. Visit purplemartin.org for more information.

Purple Martins are sociable birds so hanging a minimum of 4 gourds is recommended. You can hang with cable or purchase a pole hanger that holds many gourds. Remember these are flying insect eaters except they don't eat mosquitoes. For that, we suggest a mosquito trap by Koolatron or Mosquito Magnet.

We also sell purple martin and other bird houses.

Thank you for your question. If you need more help, please contact us at Sales@SafeHomeProducts.com

Sincerely,

Barbara