4 September 1998

IS THE HOUSE MARTIN IN DANGER OF DECLINING?

REPORTS of fewer house martins this year have prompted the RSPB to arrange an urgent UK-wide house martin survey.

Each spring, house martins return to their traditional nest sites under the eaves of buildings. However, observations this year suggest that many martins have not returned. To obtain a more accurate picture the society is asking for information from everyone with house martins nesting on their house or outbuildings this year.

From the results it should be possible to rapidly assess whether there really has been a decline in numbers between last season and this year.

Dr David Gibbons, RSPB head of monitoring and surveys said: "It is essential that we know what is happening to house martin numbers to estimate whether there is a real problem or just a short-term drop in population. Any information that FARMERS WEEKLY readers can send will be extremely valuable."

A survey sheet (with just six questions) is available from: House Martin Survey, Conservation Dept, RSPB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire SG19 2DL (01767-680551).

Michael Edwards