Monday, 1 May 2017

House Martin survey

From Ben Reeve, Assistant BTO Regional Representative for Northants

Hi all,

We hope you're enjoying the arrival of our summer migrants; the county has plenty of Warblers in full song, waders visiting our reservoirs and Swallows overhead. Here's hoping we'll see a higher number of House Martins in 2017!

Sadly, as you may already know, House Martin numbers are in steep decline so in 2015 the BTO launched a specially designed survey to gather vital information to help understand them better.

Hopefully you'll be aware of last year's House Martin nest study even if you couldn't participate. It was originally going to run from 2015 to 2016 but last year wasn't considered a typical year for House Martins so the nest study has been extended for another year.

Do you have House Martins nesting on your house, close by or somewhere else convenient where you will be able to monitor them regularly throughout the season?

If you can answer yes to the following questions we’d love you to take part in the survey –

  • Can the nests be viewed safely (from ground level or from a window) without causing disturbance to the birds?
  • Is the site convenient to commit to visiting regularly throughout the breeding season until September (ideally once a week, with an occasional break being acceptable)?
  • Could I obtain the site owner’s permission where necessary?
Surveying can be very satisfying and enjoyable, this nest study in particular is straight forward and will provide useful data that may help to explain the species’ decline. Below is a list of useful links which should help you decide if you can take part in the survey. We're also more than happy to chat to you to help with any reservations, concerns or general questions you may have.

House Martin appeal
Nest study info
Video tutorial
Sign up / log in
House Martin ID video

If you can’t take part in the survey there are other ways you can help, the appeal needs to raise funds to make up a shortfall and you can donate here.

We’d very much appreciate you giving this some thought. House Martins are in danger of being added to the Red Data list and you could really help by spending 15 minutes a week over the coming few months.

All the best,


Ben Reeve
BTO Assistant Regional Rep for Northants
7 Rectory Close, Crick, Northants, NN6 7SY
Twitter: @NorthantsBTO
Personal Twitter: @BeardWarbler
01788 824413
07961 038455
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