Counting on …day 174

6th  May 2022

As a prolonged period of hot dry weather is forecast, the RSPB is inviting us to provide extra help for the migratory birds that are arriving in the UK. https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/mud-pies-for-house-martins/

The RSPB is urging the public to get their hands dirty this weekend and create mud pies to help endangered birds such as house martins, swifts and swallows get enough sludge to build their nests.

A nine-day mini-heatwave is hitting the UK, which coincides with the return of migratory birds here to breed. Many of these birds have flown thousands of miles on their journey. But conservationists are concerned that the ground is getting so hard it could stop them from being able to make their nests.

By leaving out dishes of mud mixed with water, or creating little puddles in the garden, the public can make a big difference, said Becca Smith, of the RSPB. “It’s the easiest thing that people can do to help these birds after they’ve flown all the way from Africa to our shores. Plus, a bit of mud pie-making is fun for the weekend.”

Putting out dishes of fresh water will also provide drinking and bathing for a variety of birds. House martins – which require the most mud for nestbuilding – can mix water with soil themselves, which they then combine with things such as grass, feathers and vegetable fibres to make little cup nests under the eaves of houses. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/05/mud-water-to-help-nesting-migrating-birds-during-uk-heatwave-rspb-aoe

Author: Judith Russenberger

Environmentalist and theologian, with husband and three grown up children plus one cat, living in London SW14. I enjoy running and drinking coffee - ideally with a friend or a book.

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