If you own a home you can encourage house martins to use them to build their nests, or put up some artificial nests to give them a permanent home year after year. You can encourage others to do this as well, check out our resources for more information.
Providing artificial nest cups can encourage house martins to nest around your eaves. If you have to remove nests to do renovation works make sure it is outside of their nesting season (it is illegal to remove or disturb an active nest of any bird in the UK). Replacing the removed nests with artificial ones will encourage returning birds to stay and continue to breed. If you don’t have any suitable eaves why not create your own by fixing a wooden board at least 200mm in depth to create an overhang?
You can help educate your community and neighbours about the decline of the house martin and how we can all work together to help slow the decline of this species. House martin chicks will leave droppings which can be an issue for some households. This can be remedied by fitting a board a couple of metres below the nest to capture them. You could also place plants in containers below the nests that absorb the droppings adding beneficial nutrients to the soil. Check out our resources page on how you can help spread the word.
Ponds are great for attracting lots of insects and if it has a muddy edge it can provide nest building material as well. If a pond is not possible, a tray of wet mud can make the difference to having house martins nesting on your house or locally. Make sure this tray is in open ground away from the cover of vegetation that cats may use as cover to pick off house martins! Planting native trees, shrubs and wild flowers will further increase insect populations to keep the house martins and other insectivores well fed.
You can report house martin numbers to BirdTrack a free and convenient way of storing your bird records via the BTO website. It is important to try and record numbers to give us an idea of where the birds are to build up a better picture of how we can help them in the future.
Nest cups are the perfect way to give your visitors a secure and safe home for years to come. Check out the list of suppliers where you can get yours.