So, you want to help the environment…

by: Susan Halpin

I have been thinking a lot lately of the latest fad of “going green”. It seems like using environmentally friendly products has become all the rage. Reducing ones carbon footprint has become the quest of many. But with all these acts of conservationism none is as humble and beautiful as what a Purple Martin Landlord does for his birds.
Not many people are aware of the plight of the Purple Martin. Besides the fact that most people have NO idea what a Purple Martin is, the act of putting up a house or a gourd for a Purple Martin to live in is becoming a remnant of a bygone era. Much like families sitting together for dinner-SANS Television, putting up housing is something more of us should do but not many of us actually do.
What is so compelling about this bird anyway? It’s about 8 inches long and so are a lot of other birds. The males are a steely blue-ish black…OK. The females not as fancy looking…alright. What is the big deal? Since these birds will never visit your backyard bird feeder most people will never get to find out. But if you are blessed enough to witness them, you will be taken in by their beautiful song, unquestionable grace in the air and apparent joy of flight.

So why am I writing this? You wanted to help the environment. You want to make a difference in the world. Feel free to donate money to save the Whales. Don’t let me stop you from recycling the newspaper. But other than a change in your routine and giving up a Starbucks Latte twice a week, what do you want to do? Do you want to make a difference right in your own backyard?
Many people want to help nature but they just don’t know how. We go to our local “Mart” super store and spend 20 bucks on a nest box and complain that no birds ever nest in it. So, what can YOU do to make a difference? CAN you even make a difference? ABSOLUTELY! It’s not easy and sometimes it’s not pretty either. But the joy you will experience, the pride you will feel, the sense of accomplishment will be amazing!
Back in the 40’s and 50’s, when putting up a house for Purple Martins was popular, you could drive down a road and see birdhouse after birdhouse. Heck, there was a time when parks and public areas would put up housing for Purple Martins. Then something happened. Somewhere along the line, we forgot about those that were so completely dependant on us for their continued survival.
So what happened? We may have many opinions on that but one thing is certain. Literally, only individuals, like you, hold the key to this birds survival.
That’s right, You-by putting up Purple Martin housing- can be personally responsible for bringing Purple Martins into the world. You can be single-handedly, the most important factor in those birds life. For what purpose does any life have? Only to be born and die, and hopefully adding some offspring to the mix. As long as more are added to the population than die, we will slowly and surely fill the skies with Purple Martins. But your help is needed. Your actions are vital. Join fellow Landlords and raise up a Purple Martin house and enjoy the song and grace and joy that you will have added to the world.

For more info on Purple Martins go to:
Or check out some of the links on the right.

Blog & Photos Copyrighted 2008: S.Halpin/

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