Bird Abodes • 506 Erie Street (Pole Barn) • P.O. Box 756 • Edinboro, PA 16412 • Mobile (814) 323-2001 • Fax (814) 734-9078 •

About Bird Abodes

Manufacturer of the SuperGourd

Hello. I am James R. Hill, III, (aka “Jamie”) owner of Bird Abodes and manufacturer of the SuperGourd. I am both a bird bander and an ornithologist, and have been conducting research on Purple Martins for over 35 years.

(Download my resumé)

I am also Founder and Executive Director Emeritus of the Purple Martin Conservation Association, a 27-year-old, non-profit organization whose mission is to help both the Purple Martin and the one million martin hobbyists estimated to be in North America today.

My fascination with Purple Martins began in the early 1960s, when I was just a child trying to impress my friends. I would drag them along on covert and mischievous missions to the summer youth camp across the road from my house, where there was a thriving colony of martins in three wooden houses, atop three metal poles. I would grab the poles and shake them, causing the birds inside the houses to fly out in a panic. This gave me pleasure for some strange reason.

In a twist of karmic fate, I grew up devoting most of my professional career to helping this bird I harassed so badly in my youth. I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Biology at the Edinboro University of PA, where I took a course in ornithology.

Learning about birds was life altering. I knew I wanted to become an ornithologist. So I went on to Penn State University and earned a Master’s Degree in Ecology and Wildlife Management, studying the Barn Swallow. While researching the Barn Swallow, I learned that its close cousin, the Purple Martin, was decreasing in numbers in many areas of the continent, so in 1981, I put up my first martin house at my family’s campground on Edinboro Lake in Pennsylvania, where a thriving colony exists to this day. In 1987, I founded the Purple Martin Conservation Association. In 1998, I designed the “SuperGourd” and started Bird Abodes.

I have designed, or helped design, many of the items sold at this web site. I am proud of the quality of the products we offer and of our great, personal service. These are the best martin products on the market today.

James Hill, owner of Bird Abodes and manufacturer of the SuperGourd.
James R. Hill, III, an ornithologist and owner of Bird Abodes, holding a natural gourd that has been equipped with an incavity surveillance camera so that he and the Purple Martin Conservation Association could watch, listen, and record a martin's entire 75-day nesting cycle from a television monitor inside their office. (Download a PDF of the article)
A Purple Martin feeding its young in a natural gourd. Research I have conducted at the PMCA showed that martins have significantly higher reproductive success in gourds, relative to houses. This was the motivation for me to design and begin manufacturing the SuperGourd.
(Download the PDF of the research article)
James R. Hill III, standing next to a wooden Purple Martin house used for research. This house is equipped with starling-resistent entrance holes, extra-deep cavities, pull-out nest trays, hinge-open front door panels, plus a cable and winch system for raising and lowering of the entire unit. The four natural gourds hung under the house have been modified with rain canopies and screw-off access lids, just like a plastic SuperGourd. The Supergourd was designed by Jamie Hill to improve on and replace the ubiquitous natural gourd.

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