Grand Designs

As well as Chilled Hare, we have another new addition to the biodiversity of our front courtyard: the second home House Martins. At least, we hope it’s their second home they are building on our shed wall, as if it’s their first nest then they’re a) quite late in getting going if they want to raise a brood before the end of the summer and b) a bit useless at nest building. Every time they get about half way with their mud construction, most of it falls off and they’re almost back to square one. There also appear to be three of them, rather than the more conventional pair – I’ve decided that the third one is the house martin equivalent of Kevin McCloud and is busy wrinkling his house-martin brow in concern as the imported Cumbrian mud turns out to be not the perfect shade as envisaged by Mrs House Martin, while Mr House Martin, having changed his mind three times about the design of the frontage and sacked his architect, decides to quit his job and project manage the whole process himself in order to get it done. Or perhaps they are just slightly rubbish at nest building and I should get out more.

It will be a shame if they don’t finish it because house martins are brilliant little birds and would be an adornment to the courtyard, and besides, it appears the swallows are falling behind on their hoovering up of midges duties, if the amount I’ve been getting bitten is anything to go by…

The RSPB have some rather complicated instructions on what to do if a nest falls with the young inside, which  suggests that structural integrity is not your average house martin nest’s strong point, but no suggestions on how to help them build it in the first place, apart from providing them with ample supplies of mud, which is really not a problem around here. So I’ll have to be content with watching their progress out of the window and reporting back. If they build anything worth photographing, I will let you know.


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