House martin young about to land between two adults on telephone wire

What to do about nesting house martins

More information about what you can do if house martins are nesting in your home.

Preventing house martins from nesting

With house martins amber listed due to their population decline, it is inappropriate to prevent them nesting.

While most people welcome house martins, the birds can occasionally be a problem, for instance if a nest is above a door. These conflict areas can be isolated by closing in the triangle under the eaves where the nests are built with a piece of wood, fine mesh chicken wire or parallel wires stretching from the outer edge of the soffit board to c.15cm down the wall. 

House martins may have a number of parasites such as feather mites or flat flies, in most cases harmless to them. These parasites do not affect people.

Things you need to avoid

  • Do not deny martins access to parts of the roof where their presence does not create a problem.
  • Never put these deterrents in position to prevent access to an active nest and only remove existing nests, if essential, during the winter months when the martins are not in residence.  
  • Knocking down an active nest or preventing birds access to their eggs or young is illegal and attracts potentially high penalties.

Droppings and parasites

House martins droppings can be a problem, especially from a nest over a door or window. The simplest way to overcome this is to fix a shelf about 250 mm wide about two metres below the nest to catch droppings. Use key-hole brackets so you can remove the shelf for cleaning.

House martins may have a number of parasites such as feather mites or flat flies, in most cases harmless to them. These parasites do not affect people.

House martin at nest in barn