Purple Martin Houses
The Purple Martin is North America’s largest swallow. Purple Martins visit Lion Country Safari between January and June each year. This species is considered of special concern across the U.S. and Canada. Steep population declines in Purple Martins and similar species is attributed to pesticide use, collisions with man-made structures, and aggressive introduced species (e.g., the House Sparrow and European Starling) that out-compete the Purple Martin for nest sites. This species is a swift and skilled flier and part of a group of birds known as aerial insectivores- birds that feed on airborne insects. Because of this, Purple Martins are a welcome visitor to Lion Country Safari, helping to control fly and other insect populations throughout the property! With the elimination of most natural nest cavities, eastern U.S. populations of the Purple Martin are almost completely dependent on artificial housing for nesting. To help make Purple Martins feel at home at Lion Country Safari, man-made gourd nests are located throughout the property. Offspring will return to place of their hatching each year to reproduce and contribute to future generations of Purple Martins.