Welcoming house martins

Last year's nests at the Rectory, Gungarden

A Rye News reader has written in to tell us of a recently registered new charity based in Hastings. Called House Martin Conservation UK and Ireland, it seeks to encourage home owners to provide nesting opportunities for house martins.

Every year they return from Africa to build their nests and rear their young. They collect their damp mud or clay nesting material from the nearby river or ponds and choose a building site preferably under overhanging eaves to give protection from the weather. They eat only insects, getting rid of thousands of flies and mosquitos for us everywhere that they nest.

We have a family who come every year in the last week of April to the same spot and we have provided several artificial nests also which they use in addition to building their own. Their arrival is always eagerly awaited and a cause for celebration.

Other favoured sites in Rye are the wall of the Methodist church and the Rye Club in Market Road, but they lost their home at the George Hotel as a result of the fire. Because they are such beautiful birds, we would encourage others to give a welcome home and no better place to start than the new charity’s website.

Image Credits: Mandy Mayer .


  1. Talking about birds I’ve been a bird lover for many years but I’ve come to notice I haven’t seen a song Thrush or a Mistle Thrush for a very long time now
    Has any of our readers heard or seen one.

  2. A Song Thrush is singing by the pedestrian path from behind North Salts where it crosses the railway. There are several other Song Thrushes singing around the town generally, but Mistle Thrushes seem scarce this year. There’s usually one that sings from tall trees on the fish quay side of the Salts.

  3. They are around thankfully!
    House Martins were devastated in Rye Harbour by council knocking down all the nests attached to their properties.in response I put a preformed one on my house which has been promptly inhabitated by sparrows.
    The complaints about house martins were the mess they made.But, I seem to remember Tony and Rosemary and Bev abandoning their front doors to the Martins over the breeding season!

  4. Song Thrushes are significantly more retiring than Blackbirds, I find. They only occasionally come to our back lawn though two or three males sing regularly hereabouts on Rye Hill. They were much more noticeable though in the cold weather of early February when they were forced to come down to the relatively snow-free road verges in search of food. We have a regularly singing Mistle Thrush near the Cemetery but I rarely see them at ground level. Its habit of singing from the tops of tall trees in inclement conditions (it is a bird that nests earlier in the year than most) has earned it the country name of “Storm Cock”.


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