Posts Tagged ‘swallows’

Purple Martins and Mis-Identification

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

I was poking around Twitter last night and came upon a tweet from someone saying that their purple martins had returned and were again starting to build a nest under their eave of the persons home. I had to chuckle since I knew  it was no Purple Martin. As many serious birders will tell you, one of the most important facts in properly identifying a bird is knowing the birds range, behavior and habitat. This person makes a perfect example. Knowing that purple martins do not nest on house eaves makes it easy to correctly I.D this bird as a Barn Swallow. Commonly mistaken by the novice birder, many of the swallow species like Purple Martins, Tree swallows, Barn Swallows can be confusing to some. Add in there Rough Wing Swallows and Violet-Green Swallows and even Bank Swallows, even the experience birders will have to look closely and carefully to distinguish these birds from one another.Heck, I wouldn’t have been able to tell a Rough Wing Swallow from a SY Purple Martin before reading up on it myself.

I found a great little site with some great photo comparisons of these commonly mistaken birds at which has some great tips to help you quickly tell these apart. As for the person tweeting about the purple martins mud nest under the eave of their home, I don’t think they care. But still it makes me think of how many people are out there convinced they are helping martins who may not be? Every year I hear from well meaning people that place housing and tell me about the bright yellow bills of their purple martins or how their martins will not allow other martins to nest in the house. Inevitably I find out that starlings nesting or Tree Swallows are dominating the house. Not to compare a Starling factory with a pair of Tree Swallows, but both examples show how purple martins can be pushed aside.

I recommend our Purple Martin vs Starling ID page to help those that are new to the world of birding. It is a side by side comparison of Purple Martins and Starlings. Even if you are not new, take a look and be sure…If I had a dollar for every time someone swears they have Martins and come to find out they are not!

Another great resource we recently added to our parent site was the addition of Daniel C. Drew, M.D. page on Tree Swallow/Purple Martin and Bluebird/Purple Martin INTERFERENCE. With his permission we added this page to our site so that new landlords can be more successful in getting purple martins in their Martin housing and Tree Swallows and Bluebirds in their respective housing as well. Though that page is up again, in its original site we both thought that the information contained within it is vital to new landlords that have lots of tree swallows and bluebirds but no luck in attracting Purple Martins to their properly set up site.

July 1,2008 Origin of the Swallows (A legend)

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

This is a translation of something I found on a South American Website. Written by Raul Ortelli, “El Zorro y las Aves” Buenos Aires, Argentina,1964  


Twenty centuries ago, in Nazareth, the Child Jesus, while playing with his friends, made some delicate bird figurines with clay from a nearby creek.

While they were playing a Pharisee who was passing by started screaming at them: “Don’t you know that today is Sabbath day and you are not allowed to do any type of job?”  Immediately he tried to squash the figurines with his foot but Jesus extended his hand and the birds began to fly.
That is the way  swallows were born.  These same swallows later made their nests on the roof of Jesus’ home.

Many years later, when Jesus was already a man and was on his way to Golgotha, the swallows were desolate as they followed Him. The Teacher was going to die and a stream of blood mixed with tears was running down his face.  The little birds then, one by one, took the thorns of the crown off the magnificent face. At that moment the Earth trembled and  the sky was clouded over.

From that day on swallows acquired the mourning cloak that they still carry.

June 20, 2008 Feedback Wanted!

Friday, June 20th, 2008

I have been putting some thought into what this BLOG will cover during the “off” season. Some of my ideas are to cover a new Purple Martin topic every few days. Such as Starlings, sparrows, history of the martins and more. Sort of like a Purple Martin magazine or book in installments. Its an idea. If you have any topic ideas please let me know.

I know a lot of purple martin landlords are having problems this year with parasites and drought, so perhaps even BLOG entries on those issues.

Our weather has been very unstable. Beautiful in the AM hours then developing into violent thunderstorms with high winds in the late afternoon. Due to this I have been unable to visit the premigratory roost as yet. I am waiting for a favorable weather report to plan an outing to Davie as the roost is active for a few more weeks only.

On a Purplemartins-r-us update; I have been considering several ideas. One idea is changing our name to PurpleMartinArt vs PurpleMartins-R-us. It is a domain name I already own and would not disrupte or change the site in any way. Another idea is offering a limited selection on Swallow art and collectibles. Since Purple Martins ARE a type of swallow…Let me know what you think. I love hearing from all of you.

My 3 remaining nestlings are still in the nest and the mother is calling to them trying to lure them out. Feedings seem to have decreased. But then again, since there are only 3 in that nest and most of the other nests had 5 nestlings, I may be used to seeing them feed more often due to there being more mouths to feed. There is an abundance of dragonflies around. The visitors are still around daily during AM hours. Very quiet in the PM though. I only see the female and I have NOT seen her enter the gourd to sleep. She may be sleeping with the other martins at a nearby assembly site.