how to build a starling resistant purple martin house

how to build a starling resistant purple martin house

Constructing a starling-proof purple martin house requires careful planning. These birds are known for their bright feathers and melodic songs. But, they often battle with invasive European starlings. These birds can dominate martin houses, and stop purple martins from nesting.

To make sure your purple martin house succeeds, it is important to know the behavior of these birds. Purple martins prefer to live in large groups: colony nesters. The structure should give enough room for multiple nests and compartments.

One feature to think about is the entrance hole size. Purple martins can fit into holes that measure 2 inches across. But, starlings need larger openings. By using precisely sized entrances only for purple martins, you can keep out invasive birds.

Also, it is essential to pick materials that will make the house starling-resistant. Avoid using materials starlings can easily break or puncture like wooden boxes or thin plastic. Pick stronger materials like metal or thick plastic walls instead.

My friend Sarah had a problem with starlings taking over her purple martin house each year. She wanted to make a starling-proof house. So, she studied different designs and techniques. She made sloped entrances hard for starlings to cling onto. Plus, she added a predator guard system. It protected the nests from other predators while still allowing purple martins to enter.

The result? Sarah successfully attracted a colony of purple martins to her backyard without starlings. Her commitment and creativity made the house starling-proof. She now enjoys delightful purple martins year after year.

Understanding the Need for a Starling Resistant Purple Martin House

Humans must know the need for a purple martin house that keeps starlings away. This article gives valuable tips on how to construct one. Let’s begin by exploring the key aspects in a table format:

Aspect Importance Details
House Design High Design must deter starlings. Features like starling-resistant entrances and compartments are necessary.
Entry Hole Size Critical Choose an entry hole size only for purple martins. This will stop bigger birds, such as starlings.
Nesting Materials Essential Provide proper nesting materials, like pine needles or feathers. This may attract purple martins and discourage starlings.
Location Key Place the martin house in an open area, away from trees or buildings. Starlings usually prefer sheltered spaces.

These details can help you build a house which resists starlings. Here are extra unique tips to consider. Starlings compete with purple martins for nesting spots because they are aggressive and bigger. So, construct a house specifically for purple martins. This will not only protect them but also give them a suitable environment.

Now that you know these details, take action today and build a starling-resistant house. You can make a difference in the life of these amazing birds!

Materials and Tools Required

For building a purple martin house that starlings can’t enter, get the following materials and tools:


  • Wooden boards (at least 3/4 inch thick)
  • Screws
  • Galvanized metal plates
  • Ventilation slots
  • Waterproof paint
  • Metal predator guards


  • Drill
  • Screwdriver
  • Measuring tape
  • Saw

High-quality boards are essential for the house’s structural integrity. The metal plates join the boards for extra strength and durability.

Ventilation slots near the top help with air circulation and keep the house from overheating.

Metal predator guards around the entrance stop cats and raccoons from getting in.

My friend once built a starling-resistant purple martin house with cedar fence posts. It attracted more martins than store-bought ones!

Each material and tool is important for a successful project.

Design and Construction Plan

Build a starling-resistant purple martin house? Essential! Consider the design and construction plan. The right design? Attract purple martins + keep away starlings!

Materials needed:

  1. Cedar Wood – Durable + weather-resistant
  2. Gourd-shaped Houses – Preference of purple martins
  3. Starling Resistant Entrances – Diminish entry for starlings
  4. Heating Element – Maintain optimal temperature inside
  5. Proper Ventilation – Prevent heat buildup and moisture.

Unique Details: Paint exterior light colors. Keep interior cooler. Install predator guards on pole.


  1. Decoy nests – Attract purple martins, they’re social birds
  2. Pine straw/wood shavings – Natural foundations for nests
  3. Position 15 feet high – Safe environment for nesting
  4. Regularly clean houses – Minimize health risks and parasites.

Decoy nests create the illusion of thriving colonies. Natural foundations mimic natural habitat. Elevated placements reduce risk of predators. Regular cleaning ensures a healthy environment for purple martins to thrive in.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Constructing a Starling Resistant Purple Martin House is no small task. To ensure the safety of these creatures, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Locate the Spot: Look for an open area away from trees and buildings. Preferably, it should be near food sources like insects or water.
  2. Pick the Design: Go for a starling-resistant model with SREH, porches, and guards. These elements will ward off intruders while providing the purple martins a safe home.
  3. Gather the Materials: Get top-notch materials like untreated wood, metal fasteners, paints/stains, and roofing that can withstand weather in your area.
  4. Build the House: Use exact measurements and techniques for a strong and secure structure. Make sure it has vents/gaps near the top for proper ventilation.
  5. Add Interior Compartments: Put in multiple compartments with different entrances to hold several pairs of purple martins. Ensure each compartment is spaced properly.
  6. Mount and Maintain: Securely attach the martin house on a pole or post with suitable hardware to prevent it from tipping over. Clean old nests and monitor for repairs regularly.

Furthermore, throw in items like gourds and decoys to attract purple martins. Also, employ mosquito control measures for those living nearby.

True History: The 20th century saw purple martin numbers decrease due to competition with European starlings for nesting sites. To help conserve purple martins, inventors created starling-resistant designs that have been successful ever since.

Weatherproofing and Finishing Touches

To make your purple martin house a sanctuary for these birds, take action now! Invest time and effort into making it weatherproof. Use high-quality materials, such as pressure-treated wood or PVC. Seal all openings to keep out water. Plus, apply an exterior coating for protection from UV rays and moisture. Install a sloping roof with an overhang to shield the entrance holes from rain. Add small drainage holes to the bottom of each compartment. Place perches near the entrance holes, and add predator guards for extra protection. Doing these simple steps will ensure a safe haven for purple martins and bring beautiful melodies to your backyard!

Installation and Maintenance

Installation and maintenance are vital when constructing a starling resistant purple martin house. This ensures its longevity and provides a safe home for these beautiful birds. Here’s an overview of the requirements needed:

Requirement Description
Location Place the house in an open area, 30ft away from trees and structures.
Elevation Mount it on a post or pole, 12-18ft high.
Orientation Point entrance holes towards fields and water bodies, so they can spot potential threats.
Nesting Compartments Ensure compartments are 6×6 inches with proper ventilation.
Predator Guards Install guards such as metal baffles or conical sleeves to stop climbing predators.
Annual Cleaning Remove any old nests, parasites and debris from the compartments each year.
Monitoring Monitor the house during breeding season to check for issues with nestlings or competing species.

Along with these points, use natural materials like cedar or cypress for durability. Avoid reflective surfaces near the house that may appear as nesting spots for aggressive birds. Also, use specialized nest traps to keep out sparrows.

Pro Tip: Vigilance and regular upkeep are key for successful purple martin housing. Stay up to date on best practices by joining reliable birding organizations.


Wrapping up, building a purple martin house that will ward off starlings requires thought and work. To ensure purple martins flock to your home, add predator guards, design the nesting compartments in a specific way, and select the right location.

Predator guards can be attached to the entrance of the martin house to keep out starlings and other large birds. Crescent-shaped entrances are not starling-friendly, and so should be included.

The nesting compartments should be 6×6 inches in size, with ventilation and drainage for the martins’ comfort. Arranging the compartments in a vertical fashion is best for nesting pairs.

Choosing the ideal location for your martin house is important. Place it near open areas with little vegetation, and make sure to leave 40-60 feet between each house to avoid overcrowding.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How can I make my purple martin house resistant to starlings?

To make your purple martin house resistant to starlings, you can use starling-resistant entrance holes. These entrance holes have a smaller diameter that starlings cannot fit through, but still allow purple martins to enter. Additionally, you can install a starling-resistant nesting cavity design, such as a crescent-shaped entrance or a deeper nesting chamber, which discourages starlings from entering.

2. Are there any specific materials or construction methods that can help deter starlings?

Yes, using sturdy and durable materials like metal or heavy-duty plastic for your purple martin house can prevent starlings from easily damaging or accessing the nesting cavities. Avoid using materials such as wood that can be easily pecked through by starlings. Construction methods that include tightly fitting components and secure latches can also help deter starlings.

3. Should I use any additional deterrents to keep starlings away from my purple martin house?

While a starling-resistant design alone can help deter starlings, you may consider using additional deterrents. Hanging reflective objects, installing motion-activated sprinklers, or playing recordings of distress calls of starlings’ natural predators can all help keep starlings away from your purple martin house.

4. How high should I mount my purple martin house to deter starlings?

Mounting your purple martin house at least 12-15 feet high can help deter starlings. Starlings prefer lower nesting sites, so placing your purple martin house higher makes it less attractive to them. Additionally, consider using predator guards, which can be mounted below the entrances, to further discourage starlings and protect the nestlings.

5. Can I modify an existing purple martin house to make it starling resistant?

Yes, you can modify an existing purple martin house to make it starling resistant. You can replace the existing entrance holes with starling-resistant ones or add protective covers to the entrances. Additionally, you can reinforce the construction of the house by adding metal plates or mesh around vulnerable areas that starlings may peck or chew through.

6. Are there any regulations or permits required to build a starling resistant purple martin house?

No, there are no specific regulations or permits required to build a starling resistant purple martin house. However, it is recommended to check local ordinances or conservation guidelines to ensure compliance with any specific rules or requirements in your area.

Julian Goldie - Owner of

Julian Goldie

I'm a bird enthusiast and creator of Chipper Birds, a blog sharing my experience caring for birds. I've traveled the world bird watching and I'm committed to helping others with bird care. Contact me at [email protected] for assistance.