Ha, ha! My Own Purple Martin House!

Generations ago, the Morris family became hosts for Purple Martins.

When the ladies and gents of the Purple Martin family would travel through Jackson, Mississippi, on their way from South America to the eastern United States, they always stopped over at the Morris Ice Company. Grandaddy Morris made sure of that. He put up houses for the travelers. He positioned the houses right outside his office window, and each year, he eagerly awaited the Purple Martins’ arrival.

Morris Ice, which my great-great-grandfather founded.

When my Uncle Hebron took over the ice plant, he continued the special treatment of the Purple Martins. Each year at the Board of Directors meeting, on the annual President’s Report on current leases, Hebron included whether the Martins had taken up tenancy in the houses that year. Except for a few skipped years, the birds always returned to their digs.

William Hebron Morris, my uncle

Now, the Morris family Purple Martin tradition has come to Waveland. An embarrassing number of months (and months) ago, my uncle sent me a custom-made Purple Martin house. He commissioned the house to be built on the same model as the famed—and successful—MICO birdhouse. It is a mammoth house. It has 12 openings. The Taj Mahal of Purple Martin houses. Mammoth.

Today, the Birdhouse Boys from the local hardware store (my name for them because they were so willing and took such good care of the project) erected the houses. Actually, the project started yesterday with me walking-off the required minimum number of feet so the birdhouse wouldn’t be too close to the human house or medium-sized trees (30 feet) or the live oak (which requires a full 60 feet). Purple Martins like wide open spaces where they can swoop into their home, free from predators.

The Birdhouse Boys then added the cement to let the pole dry overnight.

The temporary “guy wire” to hold the pole erect while the cement dried

Today, the Birdhouse Boys lifted the (very) heavy house over their heads and screwed it into the flanged pole. They then attached the gourds. When they noticed the gourds weren’t hanging exactly evenly, the guys re-climbed the ladder and evened up the gourds.

Ta da! The Taj Mahals of birdhouses created by Hebron Morris. Named (by me) Hebron Hall.

Me, Evangeline (who totally helped), and Hebron Hall

#purplemartins, Morris Ice Company, purple martin houses, purple martins

Comments (8)

  • My uncle, who lived in Houston, was an avid Purple Martin landlord. He lowered the houses and cleaned them out annually, explaining that the birds would not return if the houses were full of trash–especially trash left by sparrows. Putple Martins are prized birds because they eat mosquitos. I congratulate you on your new carefully installed Martin house. 8 hope you have a full house soon

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      How cool! I have been making plans on how to clean it out at the end of the season, which involves perhaps a long extension cord and a vacuum cleaner…

  • Oh, how wonderful! I’d love to have a Purple Martin house, but we don’t have wide-open spaces on our little plot. We also have too many neighborhood cats that occasionally hang out around our house (we’re one of the very few homes on our street without a dog in the yard).

    I’m sure the Purple Martins will flock (pun intended) to Hebron Hall. You’ve made it very inviting 🙂

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      Oh, how I love puns! So far, we’re attracting blue birds, so I’ve bought a bluebird house to put at their preferred height in hopes they will choose it instead. If not, I’ve got bluebirds–a happiness either way. 🙂

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