References And Resources

Purple Martin Books and References

A number of books are listed below that can be used for reference sources but realize that they have been around for a while and current research sheds newer information about purple martins that can be retrieved from the internet. Housing requirements, for the most part, are outdated, so you’ll just have to use some common sense when reading them and apply the newer standards for keeping martins and everything will be just fine. 

Stokes Purple Martin Book, by Donald and Lillian Stokes & Justin Brown.  This is the complete guide to attracting and housing Purple Martins.

How to Attract Birds, by Ortho Books

A Purple Martin Journey , 2022,6×9 in. 208 pp., by Andrew M. Troyer

What You Should Know About Purple Martins, by J.L. Wade, The Nature Society, Griggsville, IL 62340

Attracting Purple Martins, also by J.L. Wade, The Purple Martin, by R.B. Layton, Nature Book Publishers, P.O. Box 115, Valley Lee, MD 20692

Enjoying Purple Martins More, by Richard A Wolinski
How To Control Sparrows, by Don Grussing

The Purple Martin, by Richard A. Wolinski, 1994: Birdwatcher’s Digest Press.  Available from Birdwatcher’s Digest.  33 pages, color photographs.

PURPLE MARTINS “400” QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS: Chris Slabaugh Sr. 1994, 208 pages, black and white…

Stoll’s Purple Martins: Victor Stoll is host to America’s largest recorded purple martin colony of well over 600 pairs. Victor has been writing this book nearly all his life. Beautifully illustrated with outstanding color photos throughout the entire book, it’s an interesting and informative read about “America’s most wanted bird,” purple martins.

The Purple Martin, 2002, 5 1/2 x 9 in. 104 pp., 16 colors, and 4 b&w illus., 4 maps   By Robin Doughty and Rob FergusThe Purple Martin, How Citizen Scientists and Colony Landlords Are Saving a Favorite Bird 2016, 175 pp.,  By Robin Doughty and Rob Fergus

“My Best Nest,” a children’s picture book, is filled with vibrant and active illustrations that allow the reader to follow a mother Purple Martin swallow during her first day of nest building. This entertaining and educational story told in rhyme starts with vibrant dawn and ends with a bird’s gaping yawn. A short natural history section is included for parents, grandparents, and teachers. Readers familiar with this avian species will be delighted to have a children’s picture book on this popular backyard songster and aerialist. All proceeds from sales of the book “My Best Nest: A Purple Martin Story” by non-profit organizations will go to benefit migratory songbird conservation. You can buy this book at Purple Martins R’ Us.

Building Purple Martin Houses,1999, by Nancy Ringer/Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin, 32 pages, black and white.

Helping Orphaned or Injured Wild Birds, 1999, by Diane Scarazzini,/Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin, 32 pages, black and white.

You may wish to borrow one or more of these books from our Lending Library if they are available at our next meeting.

The Purple Martin Update (a magazine published quarterly) is the only publication that covers Purple Martins exclusively, scientifically, and in color. Its easy-reading style will help you manage your colony better. If you are trying to establish a colony, suggestions in the Update can save you years of time and hundreds of dollars in wasted effort and purchases. Each 32-page issue of the Purple Martin Update contains between 10 and 15 articles, in addition to regular features, such as ” House Calls” Landlord Questions and Answers.”


These information sheets are some of the most commonly used at the PMCA.  The files are in a PDF format and may be freely distributed in their current form.

How to Identify, Manage and Attract Purple Martins Information Booklet

Attract and Manage Purple Martins

Purple Martin Housing Standards

Helpful Hints for Attracting Martins

Top 10 Reasons Why People Fail to Attract Purple Martins

Top Twelve Reasons Why People Lose Their Martins

A Guide to Feeding Martins

Found an Injured Purple Martin?

A Guide for Modifying Trio Houses-Homemade Owl Guards

Project MartinWatch Forms

Tree Swallow Emergency!


Some suggested articles to read include one on staying safe from the PMCA free to download, with tips for using pole systems … fe-412.pdf

another about T14 pole innovations … le-411.pdf

Here’s one on all types of pole guards … ds-410.pdf

and one on owl guards for gourds … mo-408.pdf

one on the Lewis Modification—wing guards to help stop starlings … ti-493.pdf

one about managing Tree Swallows (or bluebirds, flycatchers, etc.) that try to claim your martin housing … cy-377.pdf

some about House Sparrow control … yt-415.pdf … rs-366.pdf … ne-363.pdf

one about preparing natural gourds … ip-403.pdf

and one on how to ID different types of nests you might find in your martin housing … id-378.pdf

The PMCA’s download center, … ad-center/ contains more good articles for those looking for basic information. Here’s one to read before you buy or build a martin house or gourd system: … hs-254.pdf

And, this is a good time of year to mention the feeding guide you will find there – … de-416.pdf

and another article that goes into more detail about methods to try … ee-367.pdf