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House Martin: a white wash

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House Martin: a white wash

Although less common than it once was the house martin (Delichon urbicum) is still a familiar site around human settlements in summer as it has adopted our houses as its preferred nest site. Strangely, it tends to be houses with white walls that they choose. They like to build their nests up under the gutters and soffits and usually on houses rather than bungalows.

The house martin is, of course, one of our summer visitors arriving back here in April from its wintering grounds in Africa. It breeds here because of the abundant supply of insects we have in this country, before setting off back south again in September. They migrate south in large flocks and thousands can be seen over Duration in autumn. The numbers build up during the day as they reach open water and so stop to feed up before setting off at first light across the channel.  

Martins are often seen in the company of swallows and can be a bit difficult to tell apart but, in general, they feed at a higher level than swallows and that is a pretty good guide.


 

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This is just my nature note: for lots more information including distribution maps, status charts, identification guidance and more photographs go to the species home page by clicking/tapping the icon