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House Martins late this year?

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House Martins late this year?

Old 12th May 2022, 12:01
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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We are about 30m West of London. We have a big garden. We used to get lots of birds of all types here. Lots of tits and etc. (Not just SWMBO's). However, now that there are millions of Red Kites here, which are all very, very hungry, there is not much for the other birds. Plus, the red kites will kill and eat other birds if it suits them. They aren't supposed to do that, But here, they do.
The only obvious survivors are a family of robins.
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Old 12th May 2022, 12:05
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
Saw one solitary Swift today, glimpsed it as it crossed the M6, somewhere north of Penrith.
Well you were in Gods country, so one would expect to see them.
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Old 12th May 2022, 12:26
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
Just looked up robin flying into the house to see if it's something that happens often a....
We would have had a pigeon fly into our house last week, but it forgot to open the sliding door.

Made quite an impression.


Pigeon crash

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Old 12th May 2022, 13:06
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Ancient Observer View Post
They aren't supposed to do that, But here, they do.
One thing I've noticed about wild birds, is that they seldom feel restricted by the book. To be honest, I'm not sure many of them have even read the book.
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Old 12th May 2022, 13:48
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Originally Posted by DuncanDoenitz View Post
One thing I've noticed about wild birds, is that they seldom feel restricted by the book. To be honest, I'm not sure many of them have even read the book.
That's because the book tends to be kept indoors; the birds can't get in because we keep leaving the sliding doors closed.
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Old 12th May 2022, 14:20
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Ah, so the robin came into my house to peruse the book! All is explained. Only, I don't have a copy... not even Olsen's Standard Book of British Birds (either expurgated or unexpurgated).

Anyway... sighted several swifts over Purley this afternoon...
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Old 12th May 2022, 15:41
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And barn owl pulli now hatching. Hopefully a good year for them if the rain holds off.

Mog
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Old 12th May 2022, 17:25
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Originally Posted by NutLoose View Post
Well you were in Gods country, so one would expect to see them.

I’m not sure about that. The M6 can be hell!
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Old 12th May 2022, 17:32
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Swifts (I know, they are different from House Martins) arrived today, in rural central Scotland.

I've tried to block up their final approach route to the barn where I keep the cars, but they have found an unplugged gap. The cheeky buggers are simply walking under the barn door. I didn't know they did that. I'd never seen a Swift walking before.

I don't grudge them a nesting site, but I loathe the fact that they crap on the cars. It's very corrosive stuff and has to be cleaned off immediately before it stains the paintwork.

Midge season hasn't started yet, so I dunno what they're feasting on, but they are eating well.

I've built what I hope is an attractive alternate nesting environment in one of the other barns. I hope they find it attractive enough to call 'home'. It's where the chickens live and the swift droppings on the floor of that barn will be good breeding grounds for wee beasties that the hens like to eat.

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Old 12th May 2022, 19:00
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Aren't they in The Beautiful South now?
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Old 12th May 2022, 22:30
  #51 (permalink)  

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Originally Posted by Prunus Dessicata View Post
Swifts (I know, they are different from House Martins) arrived today, in rural central Scotland.

I've tried to block up their final approach route to the barn where I keep the cars, but they have found an unplugged gap. The cheeky buggers are simply walking under the barn door. I didn't know they did that. I'd never seen a Swift walking before..
Swifts don’t nest in barns and definitely don’t walk….because they can’t!
I think you might mean Swallows, which definitely do both of those things.
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Old 13th May 2022, 00:45
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I’ve been told by “birders” that bird populations have dropped significantly.

A year or so ago, a bird flu, or some mysterious ailment, was causing birds to drop dead in my area.

They asked that people stop putting seed in their bird feeders to minimize the chance that the birds would congregate and pass along whatever was killing them.

I am not a birder. In fact, I own a dog and don’t want it eating dead birds, so in the last year or two I’ve picked up at least five dead birds of various sorts, put them into “poop” bags, and tossed them in the nearest trash bin. I could see no obvious cause of death, but two of them were near windows, so may have died of concussions, although there was no indication of a broken neck.

I like listening to birds.

https://www.birds.cornell.edu/home/bring-birds-back

Nearly 3 Billion Birds Gone Since 1970

The first-ever comprehensive assessment of net population changes in the U.S. and Canada reveals across-the-board declines that scientists call “staggering.” All told, the North American bird population is down by 2.9 billion breeding adults, with devastating losses among birds in every biome. Forests alone have lost 1 billion birds. Grassland bird populations collectively have declined by 53%, or another 720 million birds.

Common birds—the species that many people see every day—have suffered the greatest losses, according to the study. More than 90% of the losses (more than 2.5 billion birds) come from just 12 families including the sparrows, blackbirds, warblers, and finches.
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Old 13th May 2022, 03:41
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Originally Posted by ShyTorque View Post
Swifts don’t nest in barns and definitely don’t walk….because they can’t!
I've seen stranger things. Such as a Scot from the midge-afflicted central part of the country who's happy to admit to owning multiple cars and multiple barns...
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Old 25th May 2022, 07:55
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The next road from mine was treated to external cladding by the government for those that wanted it. The cladding restricted access to the eaves where house martins once stuck their mud nests. This year the birds seam to have figured a new way round it as they are back in larger numbers and as a bonus the areas around air vents produce a nice box in the cladding to perch on. The area around the airport still hasn't produced a cuckoo so presume that is lost.
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Old 25th May 2022, 08:12
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A near-by neighbour acquired a swift in his garden last week. He said on-line that it couldn't fly but didn't appear to be injured and was being harried by his cats, so he had it in a box; what should he do. I suggested putting it on an upstairs window ledge or another high spot and see what happened - he did and off it flew! Success!
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Old 25th May 2022, 09:08
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
A near-by neighbour acquired a swift in his garden last week. He said on-line that it couldn't fly but didn't appear to be injured and was being harried by his cats, so he had it in a box; what should he do. I suggested putting it on an upstairs window ledge or another high spot and see what happened - he did and off it flew! Success!
I once rescued one from the unlit, dusty old loft space at my parents’ house. They had heard something scuttling about up there in the night and were worried it was possibly a rodent. It had obviously landed under the eaves looking for a nest site on top of the brickwork and fallen inside. When I first saw it, I was quite taken aback, I couldn’t work out what it was as it “ran” on its wings. Having caught it and taken it outside I was surprised how big the Swift was and was impressed by its unusually stiff feathers (obviously optimised for high speed flight). It seemed undamaged and willing to go so I cleaned the dust and cobwebs off it then decided the only thing I could do was to launch it upwards because I knew they can’t take off from the ground (I later found that this isn’t recommended in case the bird is injured). It flew off and was almost immediately joined by what I presume was its mate.

I was then heartened to see it give me repeated low level fly bys for a minute or so, almost in thanks, before it climbed higher and went on its way. They are fascinating creatures, especially for an aviator. They are completely specialised for flight and apparently having fledged they possibly never land again until the age of four or five when they first nest for themselves.
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Old 25th May 2022, 10:41
  #57 (permalink)  
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Old 25th May 2022, 12:12
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B Fraser
Our female Swallows have arrived as reported by Mrs Mac, and there are much high speed flying antics going on she says around the outside of the house and in and around the garage and barn. In Dubai until Saturday so will not witness this until I return by which time they will have calmed down unfortunately. It happens every year when they return and is fun to observe with a glass of wine. Swifts have also appeared in reasonable numbers she says.

Cheers
Mr Mac
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Old 25th May 2022, 13:01
  #59 (permalink)  
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I was meant to be in Dubai now but that little project has been deferred to later this year and hopefully will coincide with the rugby 7s. The weather here is grey and damp so there's not much happening with swifts but the bats were out and about early this year. The garden and woodland have been full of them.
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Old 25th May 2022, 13:59
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Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
A near-by neighbour acquired a swift in his garden last week. He said on-line that it couldn't fly but didn't appear to be injured and was being harried by his cats, so he had it in a box; what should he do. I suggested putting it on an upstairs window ledge or another high spot and see what happened - he did and off it flew! Success!
Swifts have such big long wings for their body, there is not enough clearance to flap them to get off the ground. As you suggested, they can take off as long as they are on something where they can flap their wings fully.

Swifts spend most of their lives flying and only land for nesting really. They even sleep while flying - they go up very high and one half of their brain sleeps at a time.
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