Free Purple Martin House Plans

How To Build a Purple Martin Bird House with Free Plans

History of the first Canadian Martin House

Percy Algernon Taverner , Canadian Ornithologist


P.A. Taverner was born Percy Algernon Fowler in Guelph, Ontario in 1875. After his parents separated and his mother remarried, he took on his mother’s second husband’s surname. Taverner, a self-taught naturalist, was the first ornithologist at the National Museum of Canada, now the Canadian Museum of Nature, from 1912 to 1942. He also helped to establish the Point Pelee National Park and a number of bird sanctuaries across Canada, including Bonaventure Island.

He is the original designer and engineer of the now called Taverner Purple Martin House which has been modified in both wood and aluminum to suit today’s housing standards. Have a look at his bio., his original plans and some of the articles and books which he authored. He was well ahead of his time in both his martin observations and suggestions.

His biography:

In 1919, he wrote an article called “Bird-houses and Their Occupants”, that was printed in the early 1919 edition of a publication called The Ottawa Naturalist.
The article is available for online viewing, via the non-profit
Here is the beginning:

A photo of his house design (complete with Martins flying around)

The start of the Purple Martin section of the article:

The original blueprints of his Martin house design:

Note that vertical raising/lowering of martin housing with window sash weights as well as  easy compartment access,  and House Sparrow and Starling control with a door slide were considered, and addressed, by P.A. Taverner and his design, approximately 50 years before the aluminum house came on the market.

Photo # 4424, 1918: courtesy of the Ottawa Museum of Nature

P. A. Taverner’s second attempt at building a purple martin house for his garden turned out just as his plans were designed. Since he was a fine architect as well as an ornithologist, he seemed to know what was best for the purple martin. His thinking about his design was ahead of its time: a house that can be lowered; a house that could trap invasive species; a house that could be monitored. He was truly a martin house builder ahead of his time!

The Double Taverner

The Double Taverner 32 compartment unit is an adaptation of Taverner’s original house without the tall peaks. The Single Taverner 16 room unit is available below to download.

Canadian Double Taverner Purple Martin HouseFREE Electronic book     (32 rooms)
Canadian Double Taverner Insert…FREE Electronic book


Here is a successful Double Taverner occupied by Purple Martins.

Double Taverner Purple Martin House in Sketchup…click here to download the build.



Double Taverner completed by Doug, London, Ontario.

The Single Taverner Martin House

Single Taverner Purple Martin House Plan

The adapted original 16 compartment condo is available for download below. It includes: Starling Resistant Doors, Easy Raising and Lowering with a winch, and adaptable nest trays.

This vintage New Free Plan requires time to download…..(condo et nichoir de Taverner pour les hirondelles noires )  L’hirondelle noire aime vivre en colonie.

Taverner Under Construction

Roof ridge

Roof Mouldings Being Prepared by Gary

Gary used an upper and lower piece for his roof ridge sandwiching the two pieces . Gary mentions that an option he came up with to strengthen and also simplify the alignment of the roof panels at the peak / ridge. I started with 1 3/8? square pre-cut cedar deck spindles. I ripped them down and will glue the waste wedge (far right) to the inside of the roof peak. Thanks Gary for another great adaptation.

Gary's single Taverner


Taverner completed  and facing the Mississippi River by Gary Fairbrother. More photos below.


Drill a 3/4? hole  and cut a PVC Pipe on a 45 degree angle to keep the rain out. Cover the hole on the inside with a screen piece. The house is now vented to increase air circulation.

Gary's styrofoam nest inserts

This is the shape I decided on for artificial nests in my Taverner house. They are ambidextrous so I can stagger them the opposite of the openings and leave more entrance room and rain protection inside. The elevation is good for keeping the nests dry on the lower floors which I’m concerned about. I followed your carving instructions to the letter and like everything else it went great! Because they are not shaped to press fit I’ll stabilize them with little floor cleats or maybe Velcro.

Adding door closers at end of season

Adding Rain Protection

New Entrance roof

A beautiful Single Taverner ready to install on Cedar Island, Ontario.

March, 2018

The Cedar Island Taverner with its first occupant May 2018


 Post Top and Cable Detail Possibilities

Cable is attached to shaft  underneath the house and secured to a clip which is secured to the shaft. 

Cable has been conveniently cut and hidden into decorative wing.

Single Taverner Trim Detail

Pole top 2

Pole top 3


Trim has been added to post shaft, hiding the cable. Courtesy of Gary Fairbrother. Another photo added by Gary to show the roof angles on the template found on Page 21 of the booklet.

Bird House Pole Construction
There are a number of optional poles available for both Taverner houses which other manufacturers or individuals have created. Check out the following links for more information.

Andre Dion Martin House Plan Made in France

I came across this variation of the Taverner House built in France but could not contact the fabricator…… Here are some pictures of the build: Click on the photos to enlarge them.





Al Taverners

Single Taverner

Aluminum Taverner

John's Taverner

Single Taverner Style Photos   

Alberta Taverner Type Wooden Purple Martin Houses


Blue Taverner

Manitoba Style Martin Houses

mod mh


Clyde Brown (Manitoba) Taverner Style

     Manitoba Style Martin House Plan click on link

This is the Manitoba style Purple Martin House from the Movie Heaven is for Real

A well used Manitoba style Taverner showing its age but with all the conveniences of the original Manitoba plan.

Double Taverner from Quebec..

-built by Leo Chartrand,  from St-Eustache 


See  P. A.Taverner Bird Houses and Their Occupants 1950 

Troyer 14 style Purple Martin House Adaptations


 Original Rondeau Wooden Purple Martin House With Dimensions



(Condo original pour l’hirondelle noire fait avec Sketchup.)


Modified Rondeau Wooden Purple Martin House with Dimensions…….click here.




Original Taverner House build from Saskatchewan

Girdwood Taverner