House Martin Nest Study 2016-2017

This survey involves volunteers making regular observations at individual nests to collect information about nesting activity.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey in 2016. House Martins are just starting to return to the U.K. and the 2017 forms are now available from our resources page.‚Äč

Can I take part in the 2017 survey?

We would welcome participants who can repeat the survey at the same sites that they covered in 2016, and also those who can cover new sites. You can take part if you know a site where House Martins are nesting and can answer 'Yes' to the following;

  • Can the nests can be viewed safely (from ground level or from a window) without causing disturbance to the birds?
  • Is the site convenient for me to commit to visiting regularly (e.g. once a week, with an occassional break being acceptable), throughout the breeding season (i.e. until mid-September)?
  • Have I obtained the site owner’s permission where necessary?

What does the survey involve?

You will need to carry out an initial visit to record some simple information about the site and any existing nests. After this initial visit, you need to be able to observe the nests for just a few minutes at least once a week to record any activity seen.

If you are able to watch the nest more frequently, this will provide us with even more powerful information as we will be able to make more accurate estimates of the timing of breeding and the length of time before young birds fledge. Detailed survey instructions are available from the Forms and Resources page.

This survey focuses on individual nests and you do not necessarily need to survey all the nests in a colony. You should bear in mind that for larger colonies, it will take longer to record and input data for all the nests in the colony, and it may be difficult to sustain this commitment on a weekly basis for the whole breeding season. Therefore, for larger colonies, we recommend that you select a subset of nests for the survey (maybe 5-10 nests) instead of attempting to survey the whole colony.

How to register for the survey

If you took part in the Nest Study in 2016, you do not need to re-register and you will be able to log-in using your BTO user name and password. Otherwise, you will need to complete a few simple steps to register for the 2017 study.