Purple Martin boxes – Ford Cove

birds,nature,Hornby Island,Purple Martin,bird boxes on poles

Purple Martin boxes – Ford Cove

The Purple Martin is the largest of the North American swallows and one of the most threatened due to the interference of man, primarily due to the introduction of European Starlings and House Sparrows, species that  often take over martin houses and injure or kill eggs and nestlings.

Starlings and Sparrows often push Martins out of local areas by taking over all of the nest sites, including houses that people put up specifically for the martins.

The Purple Martin eats flying insects at altitudes higher than other swallows, often exceeding 150 feet and sometimes 500 feet or more off the ground. When they encounter prey, they turn suddenly sideways or upward, speed up, and then flare their tails as they trap the insect. Their menu includes beetles, flies, leafhoppers, grasshoppers, crickets, butterflies, moths, wasps, spiders, termites, and mayflies.

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