Saturday, 16 July 2016

Bird of the week - House martin

I often see house martins flying in the summer but I was privileged to be able to see these birds at close hand.

House martins prefer to nest on buildings but originally built their nests on cliffs.  Each nest requires over 1000 beakfuls of mud and takes over a week to complete.

The second nest was built as a lean-to on the side of the first.

It was interesting to see that the young returned to the nest for a rest (and to be fed) even after they had fledged.  Here one is calling for food

and being rewarded.

It is interesting also to see that house martins have feathered legs.

The French call this the window swallow (Hirondelle de fenĂȘtre).  Its scientific name is Delichon urbicum.

House martins are found throughout most of the British Isles.

Despite this not much is known about them.  Because of the the BTO have organised a house martin survey - you can read about it here.  The population is in decline, especially in England.

Thomas Bewick wrote about the Martin in A History of British Birds in 1797.

House martins talk a lot in the nest, as you can hear here.  Listen to the BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day on house martin here.

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