Following a ‘please help’ call from the Police, my morning’s work suddenly changed!

I was on the road in five minutes, armed with binoculars, camera, video, map and notebook. Thankfully, this was not a long drive and I arrived at a sleepy country village some forty minutes later.

As I stepped out of the car, the evidence was all around like some type of training video or TV ‘whodunnit’.

A Police car was parked outside a house, which appeared to be having external decorations including new fascia boards. The air was full of alarm calling house martins.

You may have guessed it? - another house martin nest destruction incident.

I began to take evidential video and photographs. On the front of the house, just under the missing fascia board, were the tell tale outlines of the remains of a house martin nest.

All the time the adult birds were repeatedly flying to the spot where their nest had been only a matter of an hour before. I always find this situation hard to comprehend both legally and morally. How can a bird that weighs only 8 grams and flies several thousand miles each year to return to exactly the same house, be subjected to this type of unnecessary destruction?

The remains of the nest are found in a bucket - it’s made of hundreds of small fragments of sun baked mud and lined with soft downy feathers. Its construction is a miracle itself.

Within the mess are six tiny smashed eggs and gone are the hopes of this nesting attempt. I cannot help wondering exactly what these birds will do; will they have time to build again on a new house and if so, will the householder want them? I really hope so. There just has to be a place for birds like this in our modern world - after all, swallows and martins have lived alongside man for thousands of years.

I finish off assisting the police, taking notes and photographing the remains of the nest and we then discuss tactics to investigate this further.

I return to The Lodge with the remains of the nest and its contents securely sealed in Police evidence bags and contemplate the morning’s events.

Active house martin nests and their contents are, like all wild birds nests, legally protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

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