Attracting Purple Martins to Your Property
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The purple martin (Progne subis) is North America's largest swallow and a beautiful songbird. Purple martins are beneficial birds to have near a home or on a property because they eat insects. These birds feed during daylight, and their diet consists mainly of beetles, moths, dragonflies, butterflies, horseflies, leafhoppers and wasps. They will also eat mosquitoes, but mosquitoes make up less than 1 percent of their diet. Purple martins seem to prefer to nest near human habitats rather than in the rock crevices and tree cavities in which they nest in the wild. In Missouri and throughout the eastern United States, they have become dependent on nesting sites provided by artificial nest boxes. So, if you place and manage nest boxes, or martin houses, appropriately, chances are you will attract purple martins to your property.