Purple Martin

Ivan Miller has created a Purple Martin housing facility near his home in Jamesport, Missouri. Miller will be offering a guided tour free to the public on Saturday, June 6.

Ivan Miller has created a Purple Martin housing facility near his home in Jamesport, Missouri. Miller will be offering a guided tour free to the public on Saturday, June 6.

A landowner in Jamesport, Missouri, will offer tours of his Purple Martin housing facility next month. Ivan Ray Miller, in Jamesport, Missouri, will showcase a uniquely designed housing facility he created for Purple Martins to check for newly hatched birds. He carefully pulls down each house — consisting of a mixture of plastic gourds and apartments that are each numbered — to write down a record of the count. Miller holds an open house each year for the public and there is no fee to tour the houses.

A landowner in Jamesport, Missouri, will offer tours of his Purple Martin housing facility next month.

Ivan Ray Miller, in Jamesport, Missouri, will showcase a uniquely designed housing facility he created for Purple Martins to check for newly hatched birds.

He carefully pulls down each house — consisting of a mixture of plastic gourds and apartments that are each numbered — to write down a record of the count.

Miller holds an open house each year for the public and there is no fee to tour the houses.

After Miller moved to the state in 2000, he said he put up one Purple Martin house on his property and watched as two mating pairs arrived the first year. As he added more houses, more birds returned each year.

He said last year he saw a record number of paired birds and number of eggs laid during the spring migration. There were 137 pairs of Purple Martins that utilized the plastic gourds and they laid hundreds of eggs.

“The bird numbers were down slightly in 2019, but I’m expecting the pair numbers to be up again this year,” Miller said. “There are many birds back and this year looks like its gong to be a good year. The hatch was down in 2019 because of the cold we had last spring.”

From August through October, Purple Martins migrate to South America. The birds migrate north to Missouri in order to nest from March 20 through June 1.

To conduct research, Miller applied for and received a U.S. Federal Bird Banding and Marking Permit before he began to track Purple Martin dispersal of adults and fledglings by placing a band on their leg before releasing them.

This year, he recorded a bird that he placed a band on last year indicating that it had returned to the houses.

He said there are currently 125 pairs in the houses and more birds are expected to migrate into Missouri the rest of the month.

Miller will offer tours of his Purple Martin houses every hour from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 6. The tour will begin at his home located at 22885 340th St. in Jamesport, Missouri.

They will lower one of the houses every hour so attendees can see a nest of eggs or young up-close.

Andrew Troyer, co-owner of Troyer’s Birds’ Paradise that sells gourds and housing, will be the speaker at the event.

Miller said there will be free refreshments at the event and they will have a drawing for door prizes.

For more information, contact Miller by phone at 660-684-6563.