It is amazing to think that we know so little about the House Martin. It is, after all, a species that breeds alongside us, using our houses, bridges and other structures as places on which to construct beautifully sculpted nests made of mud. We have virtually no information on where UK House Martins spend the winter and, additionally, we are concerned that the information we have on their breeding populations is incomplete. Quite simply, we need to collect new information on House Martins.
The information that we do have, suggested that House Martin populations in the UK may have declined by 15% over the last decade and may have fallen by as much as two-thirds longer term (although the sample sizes on which the latter figure is based are rather small).
Over the last few years we have increasing the amount of our work directed towards this species, encouraging bird ringers to carry out targeted 'RAS' projects on House Martins and working with volunteer 'Citizen Scientists' to collect new information on breeding colonies. We have also been looking to deploy geolocators on some House Martins to shed light on where in Africa they actually winter. Over the next two years our work on House Martins will step up a gear. The first piece of new work will be to field test some methods for studying House Martins at breeding colonies, working with many of the volunteers who took part in the BTO House Martin Survey (2009-2013).
This initial work is being funded from proceeds from the 13/14 BTO raffle but we will need further support for other aspects of the project. If you think that you might be in a position to help fund some of this work, please donate to the appeal (click this link or use the button to the right) or if you would prefer to talk to our Fundraising Team, call them on 01842 750050.