Plans for a
Purple Martin House
been asked for plans to build a Purple Martin house so many times
that I lost count. Usually I sent them to a site that had the
plans for a basic house along with a few corrections that needed to
be made to the house so that it would be suitable for purple
martins. But still, even though the house would work, I wasn't
really happy with its design. So, I finally decided to sit
down and draw up a set of my own.
are not just another set of house plans, these plans are for a house
that was designed with the safety and comfort of the purple martin
was introduced to the purple martin, they've been supplying housing
for them to nest and raise their young in. However, not
knowing any better, most of the time, the houses were built
incorrectly and many a time, the purple martin had to pay for that
mistake, either with discomfort or with it's life. The
compartments were often much too small for a bird that is almost 8"
in length and many times, the entrance holes were incorrect,
sometimes too small or just the opposite, much to big. Too
small and the martins couldn't get in and too big and not only the
martins, but also many pests and predators could also get in.
houses were often built without the ability to access the insides of
the house so that it could be cleaned out and maintained. Nest
checks were unknown in days past, so that feature wasn't
incorporated into the design. Not knowing any better, most of
the time, the house was built and then placed on top of a stationary
pole and then left to the birds. Unfortunately, as of late,
the two major pest bird species, the European Starling and the
English House Sparrow soon took over the house and actually
eliminated the nesting of martins, the very bird the house was built
for. The landlord, not knowing any better, allowed them to
live in the house and in so doing put any martins that might have
moved in under much stress and peril.
education about the purple martin has increased greatly in recent
times and we now know much more about this beautiful bird and its
habits. We've learned much more about attracting them, keeping
them and what is required to keep them safe while they are in our
care. Within the last 10 years, house designers have
incorporated the features that will enable the landlord to tend to
his martins with ease, such as performing house maintenance,
evicting pest birds such as the starling and sparrow and of course,
the performing of nest checks enabling him to see how well his
colony is doing.
the house that I designed. Following are some of the features
that make it a house designed with the purple martins in mind.
is made of western cedar, a wood with good wood working qualities
and thermal characteristics
was designed to fit around a steel pole, allowing the landlord to
easily raise and lower the house.
plans come with two entrance hole options, round 2" holes and the
crescent shaped as shown here.
has a 2" spacing in the middle of the house and with holes drilled
in the back of the compartment walls, allows for good
has spacious 6 1/2" W x 5 1/2" H x 9 1/4" Deep compartments
allowing for large broods that can back out of the way of
has front doors that enable the entire front of the house to be
opened, easily allowing nest removal, replacement and nest
actually looks like a house.
plans comes complete with a pulley and safety strap for the top of
the pole, along with complete building, assembling and mounting
look at the following pictures and see what you think...
The house shown is painted all white,
but if you prefer, the trim can be painted a different color and of
course, the roof can be of a different color also. Although
white is less heat retaining, there is a space above the nesting
compartments that allows for air to flow through the house thus
cooling the attic, so if you want your house roof to be of a
different color, then so be it.
If you would like to build this
house, the complete set of plans along with the instruction sheets
are available. (See below)
You will be required to locate and
purchase the ground socket, 1 7/8" O.D. schedule 40 (or 80) pipe,
winch with cable, top pulley and mounting brackets.
I'm sorry, but I no longer supply
safety brackets and a pulley. The cost of materials
skyrocketed and it now costs me more to have them made and shipped
than the price asked and people questioned my prices. The
costs of materials have risen dramatically lately, so I can no
longer offer them at the price I had. I'm not in this to make
a living, just want people to get purple martins. However, the
plans I send give details of how to make the pulley and
There are a number of different
places where the pulleys can be purchased. Heavy duty ones can
be gotten or ordered at just about any hardware store or auto parts
store. Make sure they are made for 'steel cable'. You
just have to adapt the mounting to fit the bore of the pulley.
Carr has them.
Click on the link given and once
you get on the page, in the search box on the left, enter this
This will take you to a pulley
that will work for this project.
...is made of cast iron for good
...will take up to a 1/4" diameter
...will hold 1500
...has a 3/8"
...has a 2 - 3/8" thread dia (the
distance required to get the cable outside of your 2" diameter
...at the time of this writing the
cost was around $24... (I said these things weren't
Along with the one I suggest, a
number of other different options will also be displayed and if you
decide you don't want the one I suggested, then you can find and use
However, I... STRONGLY ...suggest that SAFETY be a concern in any
alternate selections. Weight, pulley size, cable size and UV rays
from the sun all need to be considered in any selection. In some cases, cheap isn't a
good idea and this is one of them...
As for the brackets, all the
dimensions are given on my plans and, they can either be made by the
individual that gets the plans, or they can be professionally
manufactured as I did. Make sure they are plenty strong enough
(at least 1/8" thick Aluminum) to safely handle the loads.
Although the house may only weigh around 40 or 50 lbs, I used at
least a 5 to 1 safety factor, so the brackets will have to be able
to handle a load of at least 250 to 300 lbs. Again, safety is a concern
and we don't need anything coming down at the wrong time because of
weak mounting brackets.
There are two ways to get the
Send $12.00 and I'll get it
back to you.I will supply the envelope and postage.
Please add a note stating you want
House plans since I also offer rack plans and need to make
sure which is requested.
7040 Barker Rd
Email address (NO, I
do not keep, sell or give them away. It's in case I have a
problem and need to contact you).
You can Pay Online with PayPal
that the 'ship to' address is correct.
supply the envelope and stamps, which will take care of the shipping
don't forget the email address
Back to Chuck's Purple Martin
This page created and
by Chuck Abare
The Registry of Nature Habitats
Copyright 1999 -
All Rights Reserved