I was working from home last Friday and noticed that there were lots of comings and goings from my house martin nest. I could see them constantly flying past my landing window and assumed that they had finally fledged. As a first brood, I was getting slightly concerned that I had yet to see the chicks fly – this being late in the year. I was relieved then when I saw them flying past.
However, as I left home in the afternoon I noticed something on my driveway – the nest!
The nest was from last year and perhaps, weakened over the winter, it could not withstand the weight of an almost fledging brood. Whatever the reason for its failure, it seems the chicks were forced to fledge whether they liked it or not. The birds were still flying up to where the nest had been, trying to cling on to what little remained of the mud home attached to the wall.
When I retuned home on Sunday, the birds were nowhere to be seen. I hope they’ve found somewhere else to roost overnight, particularly with the temperatures becoming more autumnal. Whether the chicks will have gained enough strength to migrate yet is another matter entirely. I’ve not seen many house martins in the area since I returned so maybe they have already moved on.
After giving up on the nest ever producing any chicks this year, I was very surprised and happy to hear and see a brood being nurtured high up on the side of my house in mid-August. Now that they’ve fledged, and hopefully begun their migration south, I have some renewed hope that I may be able to conduct the 2016 BTO House Martin Nest Study using a nest on my own house – I’ll just have to wait and see!