Swallows and house martin numbers down?

  • Happy to announce that Summer has officially arrived - first Swifts of the year have arrived.




    My Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobs_retired_now/

  • I am no bird watcher as such , just enjoy them being around .

    Always , always for the last thirty years i have lived here we have had dozens and dozens of house martins and swifts , never a year without nest building either end of the house .

    I have noticed the last couple of years at migration time there seemed to be substantially less lining up on the wires to leave .

    This year , no nests to date and very very few pairs , the fields are normally festooned with low flyong birds arcing across them at low level , they are barely noticeable ,

    Area Gower S.Wales .
  • You say you always have nests on the house. Did you have young that fledged last year?

  • We have same problem up here in North Cumbria, it feels almost errie, no swallows..no house martins nesting, something is very wrong, its just too quiet.

    I'd heard about the horrendous netting practice during migration, but I didn't realise the scale of the problem until I watched Chris Packhams piece on it recently.

    We did have lots of young that fledged last year though in answer to your question.

  • Definitely more than one cause for the declines. Definitely a lot less swallows this year. I don't think any of the four hirundines we get in UK are going to do anything but continue declining as there are no easy fixes, and some of them are politically incorrect. Humans are ultimately the cause of all these declines though. Re swallows, I got the impression they weren't that numerous last Autumn either, but they haven't been about in large numbers here anyway during the last 7 years. I do know a number of former breeding sites that have become 'out of bounds'. I think netting is a huge issue, but we also need to tackle issues closer to home. Very difficult when people are even posting online their intolerance of nests on their properties.

  • A bird is no longer free to fly anywhere in the sky?

    When are we ever going to wake up to our incredibly selfish ways....
  • @Robbo ,
    We did have young last year , at this rate we will have nothing this year .
  • Ok thanks. Fair enough. Can't explain it as (unusually) martin numbers have held up ok in this area. I can also say they're making good use of new builds near a canal....they have very large overhangs, so I doubt sparrows will be able to get up to them. Maybe it's not all doom and gloom, so long as residents don't interfere with the martin nests.
  • Hi my house Martin’s were 6 pairs down and the male swallow was alone for 10 days until his mate arrived. The Martins have increased massively but not by as many as the swallows who now number 50.

    My problem is my house Martin have disappeared could they have migrated early?
  • My sister lives in Spain and has loads. We enjoy watching “fly bys” in the evening and nicknamed them the red arrows! This nest is above her back door. You can just see two heads popping up at the top. Pic taken in May.