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Purple Martin

Scientific name: Progne subis

One of the most familiar and popular birds in eastern North America, Purple Martin houses can be seen in yards both suburban and rural. The colonial nesting martins are one of the earliest spring arrivals each year, and if House Sparrows and European Starlings are kept out of the houses, Purple Martins will readily take residence.

Because Purple Martins have a diet of flying insects, a late cold snap in spring can present a danger of starvation. Many people think that martins eat lots of mosquitoes, but the evidence suggests that they actually eat very few, instead concentrating on high-flying insects that are active during the daytime.