Purple martins get red carpet treatment: Giant birdhouse in Audubon has 248 rooms, all with a view
The state's largest purple martin birdhouse is open to tenants again in Audubon. The stately birdhouse mansion was dedicated Thursday, and can be seen on its 16-foot tower located on the green sweep of grass between Audubon Liquors and Highway 10...
The state's largest purple martin birdhouse is open to tenants again in Audubon.
The stately birdhouse mansion was dedicated Thursday, and can be seen on its 16-foot tower located on the green sweep of grass between Audubon Liquors and Highway 10.
It replaces the original martin birdhouse built in 1981 by Jim Savig, which had 240 martin rooms and weighed 1,100 pounds. It was sponsored by the Lions Club.
It was taken down last year, after the city decided to replace it after 36 years of wear and tear. Timothy Kohler built the new birdhouse. Now living in Detroit Lakes, Kohler thought the project would be a good way to pay homage to his rural Audubon roots.
It took him four weeks of part-time work to build the 248-room birdhouse. The dimensions are the same as the original-four feet by eight feet and five feet high-and the new house weighs in at 1,740 pounds. It was placed on its tower with an industrial-sized forklift.
The original tower is being used to hold and support the new birdhouse, which cost about $1,500 and is sponsored by the city of Audubon and the privately-owned Audubon Liquor Store.
A sign proclaiming the martin birdhouse the largest in the state cost about $500 more, said Audubon Mayor Tony Gordon.
He knows because he did the research while he was trying to get the birdhouse included in Guinness World Records. Audubon came close, he said, but a site in Texas offers more bird apartments, even though it involves multiple units, not just one big birdhouse, he said.
At times the big birdhouse is quiet and at times "it's like you flipped a switch and they were back, they were everywhere," said Bob Spilman, who owns the Audubon Liquor Store. "It was cool to see," he added. "At one point it was like a convention going on, it was so noisy."
It's no coincidence that the giant birdhouse is located in Audubon. The city was established in 1872 and named after John James Audubon, a bird expert and artist famous for studying and documenting American birds, and the original birdhouse was built to honor that heritage, Gordon said.
The martin birdhouse dedication ceremony Thursday morning was part of the Festival of Birds.