Daily Archives: May 25, 2010

Swallows and House Martins

It is really nice to get some interesting facts about swallows and house martins.  I never thought about the difference between swallow and house martin nests.

It is worrying that not so many swallows seem to be here this year. 

From Garth  –

On  looking back to some of the reports on the breeding of these species I wonder if the nests are being identified correctly?

It is swallows that build a cup nest and usually use the interior of a building, whereas house martins is an enclosed mud structure on the outside of buildings, such as eaves or the apex of a house.

Over the twelve years I have been ringing swallows as a BTO project I have only had one occasion where a swallow nested under the eaves using the usual cup nest. This was at a site one year when there was pressure for finding a site, as there were a dozen or so pairs setting up home.

The sad fact is over all those years it is only about 30% of adults that manage to return and breed, but they regularly come back to where they first nested. The young birds have a greater failure rate and tend to not breed where they were hatched but do turn up within a 2-3 mile radius.

At the end of this month May I have one swallow nest where the eggs have hatched, and are also bit later this year in Worcestershire.


One thing is certain – less swallows means more flies


Garth replied in reply to this articlce –  http://birdtablenews.com/2009/09/recording-swallow-numbers/