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May 102013
 

martin house

 

Thanks to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Wildlife Technician Chad Mogen, the library now has a Purple Martin apartment.  Being right on the bank of Lake Menomin the library is in a perfect spot to attract Martins.  Now that we have a house, we are learning about Martins. Purple Martins are the largest member of the swallow family in North America.   Martins spend the non-breeding season in Brazil then migrate to North America to nest. East of the Rockies they are totally dependent on human-supplied housing.  Martins eat only flying insects, which they catch in flight. Their diet is diverse, including dragonflies, damselflies, flies, midges, mayflies, stinkbugs, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, June bugs, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, cicadas, bees, wasps, flying ants, and ballooning spiders. Martins are not, however, prodigious consumers of mosquitoes as is so often claimed.  It is not always easy to get your first Martins and you must be diligent about keeping the house clean and not allow other birds to take it over before your Martin colony is established.  It appears we have just acquired a new and interesting hobby.  Data about Purple Martins courtesy of the Purple Martin Conservation Association

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