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House Martins: where are they?? ? ?

(37 Posts)
FannyCornforth Thu 02-Jun-22 09:44:07

As above.

I’ve had them living above my window every Summer for years and years.
But not this year. sad

I especially miss their beautiful chitter chatter.
Any thoughts?
Thank you

Germanshepherdsmum Thu 02-Jun-22 09:48:43

They arrived in the skies here (Norfolk) in early May. Perhaps they haven’t quite got up to you yet Fanny. Must be exhausted after that long journey and have stopped off to recover! ?

OakDryad Thu 02-Jun-22 09:50:24

The are in serious decline and now have red list status:


From 1970-2014 there was a 47 per cent reduction in numbers of house martins with a 10 per cent reduction between 1995-2014.

House martin populations are affected greatly by weather.

They require rain so that there will be plenty of wet mud to build their nests as well as warm weather to ensure there are plenty of insects for them to eat. When weather is either cool or dry this causes problems with insect presence and mud availability impacting on their ability to breed. In dry weather, making an area of wet mud can be beneficial to them to make their nests.

Their numbers have also been impacted by reduction in suitable nesting habitat due in part to barn conversions.

Their habitat in their overwintering grounds in Africa is also being degraded.

Large-scale mortality is regularly recorded during and after periods of bad weather, during both breeding and migration. On the other hand, hot and dry weather can result in mortality through dehydration and heat stress.

kittylester Thu 02-Jun-22 09:50:28

We had 2 lots in different eaves on one side of our house. We haven't had any for about 5 years. The path is a lot cleaner but that is the only advantage. I miss them too.

ixion Thu 02-Jun-22 09:52:05

Alive and well, Fanny

The 58-year-old band co-founder is now a Bristol-based grandad of seven and has become a passionate advocate of the UK’s stunning waterways

Chestnut Thu 02-Jun-22 09:53:27

We used to see swifts swooping around especially at dusk but I haven't seen them in years.

MiniMoon Thu 02-Jun-22 10:08:47

The house martins are back here. Also the swallows and swifts. Down by the river there are also sand martins.
I have noticed that they are fewer in number though.

FannyCornforth Thu 02-Jun-22 10:10:44

OakDryad oh no. That’s so sad.

Kitty I know that you aren’t that far from me, so perhaps it’s a regional thing

ixion they were brilliant weren’t they. I remember their excellent dancing to Happy Hour on TOTP

Shep I really hope that you are right and that they’ll be here soon

OakDryad Thu 02-Jun-22 10:19:50

I have a huge and very old oak tree in my garden, home to what must be hundreds of thousands (millions?) of insects which attracted housemartins and pipistrelle bats every year. It was lovely to sit in the garden and watch both species swooping around day and night. They both disappeared twelve ago after the orchard opposite went under housing development. Despite much campaigning, the bat roosts (unoccupied at the time) were allowed to be destroyed so long as the new houses had articifical bat boxes attached. I have not seen a bat or had housemartins nesting since so human encroachment in urban environments, as well as weather, is a factor.

MaizieD Thu 02-Jun-22 10:29:39

We've been in our house for 25+years now. We have lots of outbuildings (stables and sheds). For most of the time we've been here we've always had a few nesting pairs of swallows but in the last few years it's been down to one pair and they arrive very late. In fact, this year's pair only arrived a few days ago and started building a nest. So they'll only be able to raise one brood where in the past, earlier arrival has enabled the swallows to raise two broods. So that could be affecting numbers.

I find it very sad because I love to see them swooping around.

MaizieD Thu 02-Jun-22 10:31:53

P.S. I haven't seen a house martin for years. Perhaps they don't get as far as the North East.

Whitewavemark2 Thu 02-Jun-22 10:36:55

Oh god it is all so depressing

FannyCornforth Thu 02-Jun-22 11:08:30

It is. It’s absolutely awful.
I don’t think that things bode well at all

Septimia Thu 02-Jun-22 11:17:07

I'm in the North East. We used to have several house martin nests in use under our eaves - in fact, one came down in a storm one year and DH built a platform to put up and popped the chicks back in; they fledged successfully.

Then, for several years we saw them flying around but the didn't seem to be as many and none nested with us. Last year they built a nest above our window again and this year they've added an extension. We're very happy they're back, despite the mess!

FannyCornforth Thu 02-Jun-22 11:20:59

Septimia oh that’s excellent.
A happy story at last ?

Shandy57 Thu 02-Jun-22 11:21:52

I'm in the NE too. I lived in my house for twenty years, and we had swallows nesting in the coal house, plus the barn owl. Sadly I had to sell and I can see the new owner has the door closed. Very sad.

I've noticed a lack of house martin nests in our village street, the pavement at one spot used to be littered with droppings, none this year.

Casdon Thu 02-Jun-22 11:26:41

I’m in Wales, and we have two nests on the house. I’ve taken a very inadequate picture of one just now, if you zoom in you can see one of the parents on food delivery. They disappeared from us for two years after the volcano eruptions in 2014, but they seem to be in slow recovery round here, my neighbours have nests too.

Septimia Thu 02-Jun-22 12:55:23

One of our neighbours cut a hole in the top of his shed door so that the swallows could get in to nest. I was speaking to another neighbour the other day and she said that, when her husband sees that the swallows are back, he leaves the shed door open for them.

Saggi Thu 02-Jun-22 13:00:32

We live in a very long road of thirties , gabled house…… we’re at the ‘modern development’ end , by which I mean they were built in the 70’s. Our Road abounds with house martins and when you walk the length of it , they are chittering and chattering , back and forth above our heads….. all their nests are in the eaves…. and they seem to cross cross the road too to bottom. Very pleasing.!

bikergran Thu 02-Jun-22 19:26:17

I am at this moment in time watching them swoop back and forth to the nests (we have 2) They must have arrived stealth like as I never heard them re buidling the nests. Normally I can hear the blobs of mud dropping on the conservatory roof.

North Lancashire here.

sharon103 Thu 02-Jun-22 23:48:36

I have them in the eaves just above my bedroom window at the front of my house smile
They come back every year and they chitter chatter most of the night. I love to hear them when I go to bed in the early hours and if I get up to use the loo.

Shelflife Fri 03-Jun-22 08:06:19

Fanny I do hope your house martins arrive soon, I think they will. Ours have bet here about 3 days now and are very busy! I am delighted when I have my first sighting if them , love their chatter above the bedroom window.

FannyCornforth Fri 03-Jun-22 08:11:52

Than you Shelflife, I am still hopeful.
Three days? That does give me hope.
Yes, they roost above my bedroom window too, and their little conversations, especially at night, are utterly adorable

FannyCornforth Tue 14-Jun-22 09:14:01

♥️ They Are Here! Hurray! ♥️

J52 Tue 14-Jun-22 09:34:35

I’ve not seen as many yet this year.

As they depend on insects, we should all get planting and allow the wild flowers to flourish.
If you’ve not got a lot of space, even a planted trough of wildflower mix helps.