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Who’s got Martin?

…asks BTO

Who’s got Martin? That’s what the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) would like to know.

Over the next few weeks House Martins will be arriving back in the UK, having spent the cold winter months in the skies of equatorial Africa, and the BTO want to know just how many return to their breeding colonies this year.

In the year 2000 it was estimated that there was around half a million pairs of House Martins breeding in the UK, the majority of these building mud nests on our houses and public buildings. However, over the last decade House Martins have disappeared from many former colonies. 

Paul Stancliffe, BTO commented, “This will be the third summer that we have been monitoring House Martins, and it is vitally important we continue to do so to understand just what is happening to this wonderful bird. Due to its habit of nesting on people’s properties it is a very difficult bird to monitor on a national scale, and the only way we can do this is to ask the people that live in properties with House Martins to tell us about them.” 

He added, “It is just as important to tell us if you had House Martins in the past but don’t have them anymore, this will give us the clearest picture yet on how this bird, one of our closest neighbours is doing.” 

It appears that the House Martin is doing better in Scotland and Northern Ireland, increasing by 103% and 51% respectively. In Wales the population has remained stable over the same period but it has declined by 8% in England. 

To take part in the free online BTO House Martin survey and make your House Martins count, please visit, taking part or http://www.bto.org and follow the links.

4th July 2014