Witness is an award-winning movie starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis. It also features a purple martin house as a turning point in the movie.
|Kelly McGillis is an Amish widow whose young son witnesses a murder. Harrison Ford is the cop who tries to protect them, and when he realizes the murderer is a crooked cop, he brings them back home again.|
Injured, he crashes he car into their purple martin house leaving, and they take him in to heal. He works on the birdhouse while he stays there. Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) shows up as well as an Amish carpenter in a light blue shirt in the barn-raising scene. His only lines are a few words in German during the following scene when the group is being threatened by local punk kids. When Harrison is ready to leave the family for his own home, he puts up the purple martin house, allowing the birds to return to their own homes.
Purple martins are black-purple songbirds. They are swallows, and are the only martins found in North America. They spend their summers in the US and winter down in South America. Their natural habitat and homes have been overrun by civilization, so the vast majority of purple martins now live in human-provided housing. Those who put up homes are known as "landlords", caring for their purple martins and watching for their return each year.
Unlike many birdhouses, which are put up singly, purple martins live in groups and their homes are put up in apartment-building style. Groups of gourds or nests are put together so a flock can raise its young as a community. Much like the Amish of Pennsylvania!
Purple Martin Houses from BestNest.com