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Craft Your Own Taverner Purple Martin House

All featured plans here have been designed with the Hobby Builder in mind. When constructing these houses always keep safety in mind and use your tools safely! The Taverner design was started years ago by a Canadian Ornithologist by the name of Percy Algernon Taverner.

Percy Algernon Taverner

Have a look at Percy’s Biography on Wikipedia.

P. A. Taverner was born Percy Algernon Fowler in Guelph, Ontario in 1875.   After his parents separated and his mother remarried, he took on his mother’s second husband’s surname. Taverner, a self-taught naturalist, was the first ornithologist at the National Museum of Canada, now the Canadian Museum of Nature, from 1912 to 1942. He also helped to establish the Point Pelee National Park and a number of bird sanctuaries across Canada, including Bonaventure Island.

He is the original designer and engineer of the now-called Taverner Purple Martin House which has been modified in both wood and aluminum to suit today’s housing standards. Have a look at his bio., his original plans, and some of the articles and books which he authored. He was well ahead of his time in both his martin observations and suggestions.

In 1919, he wrote an article called “Bird-houses and Their Occupants”, which was printed in the early 1919 edition of a publication called The Ottawa Naturalist.
The article is available for online viewing, via the non-profit

Here is the beginning:

Bird Houses and Their Occupants

A photo of his house design (complete with Martins flying around)

Taverner Martin House

The start of the Purple Martin section of the article:

The Purple Martin

The original blueprints of his Martin house design:

Original Blueprint

Taverner’s first attempt at a Purple Martin House (Photo below) required that the house could only be accessed with a ladder or taken down at the end of the season. Nevertheless, the martins in numerous numbers occupied this house in Ottawa, Ontario in the early 1900s.

P. A. Taverner’s second attempt at building a purple martin house for his garden turned out just as his plans were designed. Since he was a fine architect as well as an ornithologist, he seemed to know what was best for the purple martin. His thinking about the design was ahead of its time: a house that can be lowered; a house that could trap invasive species; a house that could be monitored. He was truly a Purple Martin house builder ahead of his time over 100 years ago.

The Single Taverner Purple Martin House


The adapted original 16-compartment condo is available for download . It includes Starling Resistant Doors, Easy Raising and Lowering with a winch, and adaptable nest trays. 

The Double Taverner Purple Martin House



The Double Taverner 32-compartment unit is an adaptation of Taverner’s original house without the tall peaks. The Single Taverner 16-room unit is available above to download.

Many landlords look for different types of housing to add to their  Purple Martin colonies.  Chuck Abare has come up with a detailed plan to get you moving in that direction. There are other suggestions as well to set you up with the proper hardware. Thank you Chuck for sharing.