Photo by Marlin Harms via Flickr CC
I'm so used to people complaining about swallows building their mud nests under eaves and along fascia boards that this latest request for homeowners to please leave dishes of mud out for swallows comes as quite a surprise. It turns out that unusually dry weather in the UK has left the migratory birds with too little mud to create their nests, which will be home to two or three broods during the season. According to the Telegraph, "The driest April on record [in the UK] has left swallows and house martins, species that typically build ornate nests, without the wet mud needed to construct their homes."
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is calling for the public to leave dishes of mud out for the birds so that they have the materials necessary to repair old nests or build new ones for the breeding season.
I think this is the first time I've ever heard of a mud shortage, and definitely the first time I've heard of a call for nature lovers to please leave mud on porches. But without the right materials, swallows and martins will have a far harder time with a successful breeding season.
RSPB states, "House martin nests also have a tendency to fall with the young still inside. The forecasted dry spell is likely to see this happening frequently as the mud dries out, reducing the nests grip on the wall. A substitute nest may encourage the parents to continue to feed them."
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