Predator Protection for Purple Martin Bird Houses

Birds of Prey

Hawks, owls, falcons, and other birds of prey are majestic creatures who have served as both a bane and boon for humans throughout the ages. These raptors can snatch moving prey almost effortlessly from both ground and air.

While falconers train different kinds of raptors for beneficial reasons, wild hawks can be a dangerous foe to Purple Martin Landlords. Knowing how to get rid of these predatory birds usually comes down to scaring them away and making your property less attractive to them.

A hawk perched on a wooden pole with its wings spread.

What are Raptors Afraid of?

Due to their smaller size, it’s easier to scare hawks off than larger birds of prey. Loud sounds, large and violent gestures (do not try to hit the bird with anything), and using a deterrent will all scare a hawk out of your yard.  Protecting a colony means finding a deterrent for any predator that could threaten the Purple Martin colony so that this special bird can provide enjoyment for generations to come.

Using Deterrents

There are two types of deterrent you can use to keep aerial predators away. The first type is environmental. Prune branches and ensure that there is nowhere to perch near their prey. Removing bird feeders can also discourage larger birds of prey who are looking for an easy food source.

Physical deterrents are also useful.  While a “Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube-man” may be the perfect attention grabber to draw humans in, they are the best way to end problems caused by birds of prey for the beloved Purple Martin. The Ravenox Dancing Scarecrow will fool the hawk into thinking a predator might be present. Be sure to move this dancing scarecrow around occasionally, as hawks and other birds of prey are highly intelligent and will notice if the deterrent remains stationary for more than a couple of days. Add some fun and excitement to your yard while protecting your Purple Martins!  

Ravenox Dancing Scarecrow dancing.

How it Works

The dancing scarecrow is bright yellow and stands at six feet tall. It is easy to move around yet large enough to scare away owls and other predatory birds. A small air compressor puts air into the plastic tubing and creates motion. The compressor operates on 110 volts of electricity, is weather-resistant, and will operate in rain or sunshine. While you have Purple Martins at your property we recommend running the dancing scarecrow from dawn till dusk for your entertainment and from dusk till dawn for the Martins' protection. 

When this wacky dancing scarecrow was tested, it completely eliminated an owl problem during use. We encourage using the dancing scarecrow in conjunction with other deterrents for the best results in protecting your Purple Martin colony. Here are some other ideas:

  • Shiny Things - While some species, such as crows, love to collect shiny objects, hawks and other birds of prey will see a flash of light and think it’s food. Flying into a pie tin is very frustrating, so the predators will eventually look elsewhere for less metallic meals.

  • Guard Dogs - A large breed dog that gets along well with your Purple Martins can be an excellent deterrent from not only birds of prey, but other predators as well. Just make sure not to keep a schedule when letting the dog out if it’s an indoor dog -- letting them out at random will ensure the hawks remain cautious.

Predators From the Ground

Of course, this "Wacky Waving Arm Flailing Inflatable Tube-man" is not going to be exactly inviting for the curious neighborhood trash panda (raccoon) or crazy little squirrels, but there are more ways to protect your Purple Martin Colony from predators from the ground as well. 

Whether you have a square or round pole Ravenox has the perfect Purple Martin Pole Predator Guard to keep intruders away from your Purple Martins.  The guard makes it impossible for climbing creatures that mean harm to gain access to the nests, eggs, and birds. These guards are equipped with "snake sniffers" or holes on the top of the guard that allow snakes to smell the Purple Martins and lures them into the guard rather than around the side which adds an extra layer of protection for your nesting colony.  

Raccoons in a tree.

Starlings and Sparrows

Other smaller birds can endanger the Purple Martins as well because of their parasitic nature and relationship to the Martins .  Starlings and Sparrows can be pests for Landlords and their colonies alike, but gourds with Starling resistant entrance holes can keep your Martins safely in their homes and their foe out.  Whether you prefer vertical or horizontal gourds there are options for all gourd and Martin enthusiasts to protect the colony.  The Starling resistant entrance features a rectangular entrance hole that even the smallest European Starlings just can't get into

Gourd caps are also available to make sure while the Purple Martin colony is escaping the cold in South America, other animals and parasites can’t take over their homes in the absence.  There are humane ways to trap Starlings and Sparrows and release these animals as well, keeping them away from your Purple Martin colonies.  Either way, create a plan to protect the Martins from all the birds that try to invade their spaces. 

Different types of common garden birds including a Sparrow and a Starling.

Providing Safety For Purple Martin’s 

Ravenox's Dancing Scarecrow with a happy face waving goodbye!

Landlords love watching their populations grow and thrive, and Purple Martins rely on us to provide them with a happy home that provide safety from all their predators to do so.  No matter what Purple Martin pests inhabit the area around your gourd rack or bird house there are many alternatives to choose from for predator protection from the air and the ground.  And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want an awesome dancing scarecrow in their yard!?  

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