Purple Martin housing

Ivan Ray Miller from Jamesport, Missouri, will offer free tours of his Purple Martin housing facility on June 5.

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

Ivan Ray Miller will showcase a uniquely designed housing facility he created for Purple Martins.

Miller has held an open house for the public to visit the birds for the last 18 years. There is no fee to tour the houses.

The check for newly hatched birds, he carefully pulls down each house — consisting of a mixture of plastic gourds and apartments that are each numbered — and writes down a record of the count.

After Miller moved to Missouri 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 there were 137 pairs of Purple Martins that utilized the plastic gourds and they fledged a little over 500 young.

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.

Last year, he recorded a bird that had been banded at his colony six years ago and was found nesting within two miles of his home.

He said his property also attracts bluebirds and woodpeckers.

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

They will lower one of the houses every hour so attendees can see a nest of eggs or young up-close. Miller said there will be free refreshments at the event.

Bird houses will be available for attendees to buy and there will be a guest speaker at the event.

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