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Wildlife to see in June - House Martins

Sweet & eager noises with chatty bursts of chirping? Why it has to be the House Martin! Their plumage is a contrast of black and white, with a small forked tail. They eat small flying insects and spiders and that’s why you will see them chasing over meadows, water and grassland catching creatures like mosquitoes, so they are very useful house guests.

These little birds have the prefix ‘house’ as they like to build their nests on manmade buildings under the eaves of the roof. They make their nest cups with up to 1000 lumps of clay mud lined with soft white feathers. Their nests can weigh up to 500g, so they sometimes fall down due to their weight, but House Martins will repair them if they have the materials. So a great way to help them, is to make sure there is a muddy section on a nearby pond. Buying manmade nest cups (and adding a few lines of chalk to it, to look like its been used before) and putting them up on a north facing wall, just under the eaves, will encourage the birds to nest. They can have two broods over the summer before flying back down to Africa for the winter.

Sadly House Martin numbers have dramatically declined to over 65% and so they are now on the U.K. Red List for conservation. In England their numbers are also decreasing in the South compared to the North, this maybe due to Climate Change as droughts increase in our region (reducing mud opportunities), along with decreasing numbers of insects and houses without suitable nesting sites.

What can you do to help House Martins?

  1. Put up manmade nest cups for House Martins

  2. Provide muddy areas in your garden beside a pond

  3. Join House Martin Conservation

References

https://www.bto.org/understanding-birds/species-focus/house-martin

https://community.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/b/rspb-england/posts/swift-and-house-martin-added-to-new-uk-red-list

https://www.birdfood.co.uk/

https://housemartinconservation.com/how-to-help

Wildlife Working Group News

Hedgehog Talk from Suffolk Wildlife Trust, 28th June, 7.30pm, Risby Village Hall - please come along and learn about Hedgehogs in Suffolk and what you can do to help them. Free of charge. All Welcome!




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