Last September, a crack crew of Rudi’s Rangers (aka URI Master Gardener Volunteers under the direction of Rudi Hempe) installed a two-level specially designed and built, deluxe Purple Martin house in the field in front of SKLT’s Barn in Matunuck. Modeled closely after the Barn itself, this mini-condo can accommodate up to 16 martin families. Purple martins are the largest members of the swallow family, and are voracious insect eaters. Installation criteria are very specific for purple martin houses – 150 feet from any tall trees, 12 feet minimum off the ground, within a ¼ mile of a water body, and special anti-sparrow entrances. Assuming the martins like the site, summer visitors to Weeden Farm should have a comfortable, near bugless, experience of martin aeronautics.
SKLT is much indebted to the Master Gardeners, who provided an identical martin house as a bid item at last summer’s auction, renovated the well house next to the Barn, substantially aided SKLT in the Bliss Farm wildlife habitat restoration project, and are currently managing the American chestnut orchard at our Hollis Tucker Farm site.