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King-Size Condo For Purple Martins
Purple martins, largest of the swallow family and a voracious insect eater, depend on man to provide homes. Richard Warner, of Charleston, Ark., got ready for them this year before they came back in the spring by building a condominium that will house 150 purple martin families.
The elaborate multi-room complex weighs 500 lbs. It measures 8 ft. long, 33 in. wide and 4 ft. tall. There are five floors, each with ledges for roosting and guard rails to prevent young birds from falling before they can fly.
"I built the condominium of wood and left it a natural color," Warner explains. "The roof has been treated to protect it from the weather." He notes that purple martins seem to prefer a nesting site which has been painted white inside. "A white interior also helps keep sparrows out and reflects heat," he adds. An 8 in. center space allows cross ventilation.
Warner has built bird houses of different kinds for many years but this is his biggest project. The condominium rests on a trailer and requires a fork lift to move it.
"It's built to last a long time," he points out. "When it's erected it will have to be supported by four poles. Two by ten bolts will be used to anchor it in place."
Warner says the big martin house is for sale for $500.

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1981 - Volume #5, Issue #6