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ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

House Martin guarding nest over winter (1 Viewer)


New member
When our house martins leave for warmer climes one or two of them stay behind and appear to guard the nests over the winter. They tend to get very fat and patrol on the ground below the nests. Is this well known behavior for House Martins?
Welcome to Birdforum MD!
Your birds don’t sound like House Martin to me, have you taken any photos of them to help us identify the species?
Hi Dev and a warm welcome from me too. House Martins can't stay here through the winter as there's no insects for them to eat. They catch their food on the wing.

The only species I can think of, at the moment, that it could be is the White Wagtail, or the version we have here is called the Pied Wagtail. You can see a picture here (by Christine Redgate) on our Opus article: White Wagtail - BirdForum Opus (the subspecies yarrelli). But as Richard says, a picture if you can manage it (wagtails are difficult as they are never still.... always wagging their tails LOL), would help us sort this out. They will make use of nest boxes to roost in over the winter.

I'm sure you will enjoy it here and I hope to hear about all the birds you see when out and about.
Hi all,

OK, I think it’s a case of human error on my behalf…no surprises! We live next to a river and I think it’s a dipper! It got me because we do have housemartins right where these two were roosting and they look so similar when puffed up and from the front with white bib.

The penny dropped when I saw one today flying at low level over the water and then go in for a dip. I took a pic.. Oh well, no fame and glory for me having discovered weird overwintering housemartins….

Bad photo attached


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