Archive for the ‘product review’ Category

Teaching Kids About Migration

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

drsuessI recently found a really fun, interactive way for children to learn about migration. PBS kids has made an online game featuring Dr. Seuss and a flock of, you guessed it, PURPLE MARTINS! How cool is that?!? In Migration Adventure, kids learn all about how and why birds migrate. It’s a teaching tool masked in an online video game that is as safe as it comes. And we all know kids learn best when they don’t even realize they are being taught! Check it out and have your little one play. Also (on the theme of kids and learning) our website has a couple of great kids books. A purple martin book made specifically for children and a darling beginner reader book about a swallow that also teaches cooperation, friendship and about migration.

My Best Nest, a hardcover children’s picture book, is filled with vibrant and active illustrations that allow the reader to follow a mother Purple Martin swallow during her first day of nest building. A short natural history section with color photos is included for parents, grandparents and teachers. A bonus plus is this book is autographed by the author/illustrator Ree Dellinger. Truly a work of art, each page is beautiful and proceeds of this book go to benefit migratory birds and wildlife conservation efforts.

Follow the Swallow is a cool for early readers between 5 and 7 years old. Vivid illustrations and large text and also balloon inserts that kids find irresistible and exciting. Written by award winning author, Julia Donaldson, who has written books such as Spinderella, The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom.

New Purple Martin Gourd Rack Package

Monday, February 8th, 2010

I am not sure how long this deal will be going on. It includes a New Starter 4 purple martin gourd rack and 4 Troyer gourds of your choice. The usual cost for this system is $250. The special package price is only $218 which makes it a bit more cost effective for those that are looking to buy an inexpensive martin house.

These Starter 4 racks are new to the market place and feature a pulley system for those that don’t want to deal with hoisting up a telescopic pole and want the benefits of a gourd rack at a great price. I started out in purple martins with telescopic poles but soon discovered that my manicure was allergic to raising and lowering the poles.

I am a steadfast lover of gourds over houses. The main reason is they truly reduce dominance by male purple martins that can chase other prospective residents from your house. The gourds are spaced far enough apart that this porch dominance doesn’t take place as much. Besides, gourds look cool!

Stand Up Against TNR (Trap Neuter Release) of Cats

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

I found this awesome article by Rob Fergus, co-author of The Purple Martin that states the new aggressive stance against TNR programs by 10 conservation biologists in the latest issue of the journal Conservation Biology. Basically urging conservation biologists to take a strong stand against the establishment and maintenance of feral cat colonies (Trap-Neuter-Return (or Release) programs.
Read portions of the article HERE.

It is good to see conservationists finally sounding the trumpet and trying to take on some of these groups that cause more harm with their good intentions.

So what can you do to protect the birds in YOUR yard from cats while the politicians, PETA and others hack it out? Here are a few options.

cat trap

You can trap them yourself. Just minus the”Neuter and Release” part of the equation. Your neighbors may not appreciate you trapping “Fluffy”,  so this works better with feral cats. However nothing says keep your cat off my property better than a visit to the pound. The Collapsible Raccoon Trap is great for trapping cats.

You can discourage them from visiting your yard by making it cat unfriendly. Everyone knows that cats HATE water, so take advantage of that with this neighbor friendly alternative. The ScareCrow Motion Activated sprinkler shoots water out at the unsuspecting feline when the little darling decides to take a stroll through your herb garden to spread its Toxoplasmosis.

angry-dogYou can buy a dog that hates cats. So you may run into other problems like food and vet bills but still, it IS an option.

My Disclaimer: Please no hate mail. I actually am a cat lover…an indoor cat lover and my old cat “Elvis” was an indoor cat until the day he passed away at the age of 11. I just so happen to also be a bird lover and a conservationist. The definition of a Conservationist is “someone who works to protect the environment from destruction.” And I think studies have pretty much proved that the domestic cat is pretty destructive to wild NATIVE birds…ie: the environment. So thanks for your understanding.

Troyer VERTICAL Gourds Have Arrived!

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

I told you about the new gourds by Andrew Troyer that were on the way. Brand new for 2010 the Troyer Vertical gourds are here. I am impressed by the design and I am very excited to show you the pics of these beauties.

troyer vertical gourd

troyer vertical gourd

13″ deep (just like a horizontal gourd) but has the aesthetic look of a “regular” gourd that many folks prefer. At around 8″ wide the interior compartment is generous in size and yet doesn’t look like a gourd on steroids as some other plastic gourds appear. It looks a lot smaller than it actually is, in fact. The weight is distributed evenly and the 4 molded canopies on the top of the gourd can be easily drilled out for added ventilation.

All in all a superior gourd that I am very happy to offer at

2010 Purple Martin Season ALMOST Here!

Friday, December 18th, 2009

We are entering the weeks where the first arriving purple martin sightings are made. Though only a few birds trickle in at first, these few birds serve the great purpose of getting us off our rear ends and away from all the holiday food and out in the back yard scrambling to ready our purple martin houses.

Like many landlords, I have a few plans swirling in my head. A new gourd rack has been sitting in my garage for about 10 months awaiting its christening. (A sprinkle of water as the concrete cures) New gourds sit waiting eagerly to fill up the racks and the brand new 2010 Troyer VERTICAL Gourds will be in stock before the new year and are available for preorder now. Though photos of this new gourd are not available yet, they will be up ASAP.

Troyer Vertical Gourds ?

Yes, you heard right! Andrew Troyer, the Amish gentleman who revolutionized plastic purple martin bird houses by making the T-14 (T is for Troyer) and gourds with the introduction of the Troyer Horizontal Gourd, is introducing a NEW gourd. The Troyer Vertical Gourd is brand new for 2010 and should be available within the next few weeks. It is so new that pictures are not available yet but as soon as they arrive I will be taking photos and posting them up on the website,

From what Mr.Troyer tells me they will feature a standard built in SREH tunnel to give the same protection of the deep 13 ” nesting area AND they will be able to be hung on standard vertical gourd arms.

It’s going to be a VERY Merry Christmas!

New Product: One Fits All Insert Trap!

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Martin house Insert Trap that Allows for a SREH (Starling Resistant Opening)!

Much like the famous Universal Sparrow Trap (UST) the One Fits All is even better. You can catch Sparrows AND Starlings where in the past you may not have been able to catch starlings.

You may ask, “Well. why not?”
The UST traps and others come with round holes meaning that if your colony consisted of SREH you would have to either permanently or temporarily convert a SREH to a round in order to use any of the traps. That may not be a big deal. but when time is of the essence and the pesky sparrows (who can easily thwart your SREH) start nest building you want to catch quickly.

Now you can pop in the One Fits All and catch just as humanly as the UST and other popular traps but do not need to change openings. In those that have aluminum houses, changing out an entrance SREH to a round can be quite a job. Unless you bought a spare round entranced door or front panel. And tripping at around 10 or so grams, the trap is sensitive enough to catch any hosp that enters. (a typical house sparrow weighs about 28 grams)

Is it named One Fits All because it fits any door (SREH or round) or because it fits any trap?
The manufacturer tells us that it fits all the houses he tested it in and with measurements of 4 1/4 inches high, 5 inches wide, 4 3/4 inches deep, it just may. The small size is advantageous since the nest, eggs and young of the offending sparrow or starling can be pushed to the back of the trap and still be seen through the hardware cloth back of the trap. Larger traps require that you remove the nesting material which just could send the sparrows into a rage before you have the chance to trap.
The top of the crescent shaped opening is 2 3/4 inches from the floor of the trap and the crescent shaped opening is generously sized at 3 3/4 inches wide to accommodate any entrance types.

We are excited to have this new trap to our lineup available at and look forward to hearing about your success with it.