Having been outside this morning and am confident there are still two definitely active nests, I've decided to do another thread about the house martin colony on the back of this house. There are two artificial nests on the side as well, but only one has ever been used. Successfully fledged one brood about 3 years ago. Failed the next year as a magpie jumped up from the garage roof just below it and caught a nesting adult. Not been used since.
Anyway, this year, nest 1 from last year (two broods) has incubating adult. (1st photo). What was nest 4 last year is being rebuilt.....very slowly. I noticed when I took the photo, some rubbish has been added. Unclear as to whether a sparrow has been in and staked its claim, or it was collected with a bit of mud. Nest 2 and 3 from last year are both half built/half demolised. Both have had mud added, but nest 3 in particular is regularly getting invaded by the sparrows and I notice rubbish has been added to the side of that as well now. Nest 5 was completely destroyed over Winter. That already had damage towards the end of fledging last year. Nest 6 has a few fragments following last year's couple of collapses. It gets visited but no nest building so far. However, what I'll now label nest 7 has incubating adult. Nest 7 used to be one of the most successful nests but I am guessing because of its location next to a sparrow nest, it has been ignored for the last couple of years, until now. Nest 8 has a hole that wasn't there a month ago. There weren't any eggs I'm sure, but it has been visited quite a bit.
The next two photos are what I'm labelling as nest 2 and 3. The furthest artificial nest has never been used (although it did have a huge spider in it for a year or two). The nearest nest fledged several broods of house sparrows and has been used by them again this year. It definitely had newly hatched chicks a month or more ago as I heard them. However, nothing fledged for some reason. They are still defending it and don't mind crashing through the dangling bits which I put up in Winter.
...and what I'm calling nest 7 and 8. 7 has eggs. The swift box has sparrows....
"Each kindness shown to birds or men is sure to flutter back again"
Sorry Hazy. I probably didn't word my last post very well. Either that or you've learned I don't normally put positive spin on things! The second line, re mud being added, was me trying to be upbeat and offset the prev sentence. Only martins add mud, and they are continuing today on 3 nests. 2,3 and 4. The latter is getting close to being finished. What I have noticed today is an individual has again visited the concrete nest that has never been used while I have lived here. It doesn't go in though. Just perched on the edge and looked in several times. Would be good if it is used as I can't see a sparrow getting through that entrance. There was fighting inside nest 7. Unclear who won, but the departing martin was dangling out, being held/bitten as it was trying to escape. Seen martin feathers being dropped out but no eggs, so hopefully it was defended successfully.
A quick update from today. First photo is of nest 1 and nest 4. The latter is now finished. It is of a similar 'no entrance' design to last year! Wonder if it's the same adult(s) who repaired it from last year. Disappointingly, no sign yet of egg shells under nest 1, but based on behaviour I think both these nests have eggs. You can see the back end of a martin in nest 1. I am wondering if it's inspecting an egg as it took a while to fully get in the nest.
Next photo is of what I will call nest A.....I don't believe for one minute it will result in fledged young, but I'll keep track of it. No idea what was wrong with the unoccupied artificial nests.
Next photo is of concrete nest (let's call it nest C as like all other years, I don't think anything will result in fledged chicks from here, despite more interest this year), nest 2 (still not finished), nest 3 (now finished and possibly just started incubating) and the sparrow nest in the artificial nest next to it. Nest 3 has had to have reinforcement threads added as the house sparrows were aggressively attacking the martins as they were rebuilding it. Surprised the martins kept going. The sparrows can and do still attack but appear to find it only possible if the attack starts from their own nest entrance. i.e. they need to be waiting or leaving at the same time as the martin to actually get at it.
We spend 90% of net income on conservation, public education and advocacy
The RSPB is a member of BirdLife International. Find out more about the partnership
© The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654