What Happened to My Housemartin Nests?

  • Looking online I am going to try stringing some fishing line randomly over the cage style peanut feeder I am using, it is supposed to help discourage sparrows which are supposed to be put off by it, plus I am going to try hanging a suet feeder horizontally with a plastic plant pot over the top of it to encourage upside down feeders, and I will move a feeder to another part of the garden too, I will see what effect this has
  • In reply to Robbo:

    The sparrows weren't a problem until very recently, we were seeing other birds at the feeders and the house martins were nesting without problems until last year. The sparrow population seems to have increased suddenly in that time, in contrast to where I lived before where there were many more woodland birds and few sparrows. I will now modify how I am feeding the birds because I don't want to be just providing the already large numbers of sparrows with a continuous food supply to the exclusion of other small birds, and allowing them to thrive and bully other birds away!
  • Re the link, Robbo: Thank you. That's perfect. I'll pass the information on.

    Best regards -
  • I am pleased to report that I have now rigged up a clear plastic bell-shaped cover with a hanging suet cake inside for birds that don't mind hanging upside down or underneath - NO sparrows are bothering, AND several bluetits are using it regularly! That's a result seeing as any feeders that were out before were being raided by the sparrows who bullied other birds away! I'm really pleased and hope it continues to work!
  • Afternoon Ladybird. Where did you get your cover? I tried to pick up a squirrel dome feeding station protector online recently and couldn't get one for love nor money...

    Best regards -
  • Hi Dave
    I rigged one up myself made from a large sized, clear plastic drink cup (Ebay) which I cut shorter to size, and then cut short slits into it to flare it out a bit like a bell shape, put a hole in the bottom and then got a cylindrical shaped suet cake, the type ready to hang with the hanger already inside it, put the plastic hanging loop through the hole of the cup and hung it up with that. It's quite a small space difference between the cake and the cup, hopefully discouraging all but the smallest birds. The cake is just shorter than the length of the cup. A bit Blue Peter haha! I have also just ordered two11cm clear 'orchid' pots made by Steward garden products, which I am hoping to use in the same way for slightly larger, ready to hang suet 'banquets' by winstonwildsltd on ebay, so I will see how they go! As long as it's awkward for the sparrows and something which makes it impossible to get at unless they hang off the bottom of it I think it should work :)
  • Ladybird, hi.

    Excellent. Brava (or ...vo)!

    Particularly intrigued by the orchid pot idea. You might be able to pick them up free of charge if you have a tame florist locally. I'll be talking to my resident florist about that idea when she's home this evening.

    Again, well done. And thanks for the update.

    Best regards -


  • It might help others who have a sparrow invasion problem? I don't really have a local florist to ask, but the pots aren't that pricey for what they are and I don't mind spending a few pounds if it brings back the other small birds to the garden, will look forward to seeing what visits over the winter :)

  • Maybe it will, Lynda.
    You know, I really do sympathise re the sparrow problem.

    We don't have it ourselves, as we have a big gang of sparrows but lots of other birds too, many species having (obviously) nested successfully in this, our first year here.

    But if they're really having an impact on the populations of other species, why not try to even things out a little.

    I wish you a 'tame florist' in the near future (perhaps for Christmas). I've had mine for a long time now, and wouldn't swap her for anything.

  • I used to like having the 'cheeky' sparrows visit, they didn't pose a problem up until more recently, when their population seemed to grow rapidly, and then they started nesting in my neighbour's house, attacking the martin nests plus raiding the feeders all the time. They were also making a right old mess all over the trellis/planters and decking and furniture next to where the feeders were situated - they would land on the table and chairs, and leave their droppings everywhere and there were lots of them so you can imagine the mess! They were obviously getting a bit too big for their boots! So I hope that preventing them from doing that will help to redress the balance, and give the other small birds a chance :)