Our house martins are in trouble. Since 1988, they have disappeared from almost half the places they were found across Devon. Now we want to find out why.
House Martins can be affected by a range of factors. The weather is important as without rain the birds have difficulty in accessing mud to build their nests. Also, cool periods at critical times can impact on insect populations thus depriving the birds of food to successfully raise their young. Conversions and modernisation of older buildings can also reduce the availability of suitable nesting sites.
It looks as though the birds are still faring well in certain localised areas of Devon. This might help us to understand the reasons for the declines elsewhere – and to do something about it. But first we need to know where the birds are, hence this request for help in identifying the nesting activity across local communities in Devon. In addition we welcome reports of first sightings of the these birds when they arrive in the Spring, number counts of flocking House Martins in late July and August to have an estimate of breeding success in particular years, and reports in Autumn to try and find out the overall period of time that they are present in Devon.
If you live or work in Devon, or just visit, we want you to look out for house martin nests and to report what you see. It’s easy and everyone can take part.
The Devon House Martin Project is run by Devon Birds.