Sand martin Riparia riparia, perched near nest site

Legal status

Sand martins and their nests are fully protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

Sand martins and sand quarries

Sand martins often turn up at active sand quarries. They will tunnel into the quarry face even when the sand is being excavated, and in some cases have been known to start nesting in heaps of loose sand. 

Quarry owners and their workers are likely to be helpful if warned about nesting sand martins, and can often work around the colony or avoid the immediate area until nesting has finished.

Under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 it is an offence to intentionally kill, injure or take any wild bird. It is an offence to intentionally take, damage or destroy the eggs or nest of a sand martin while it is in use or being built.

Sand martin Riparia riparia, perched at entrance to nest, Langford Lowfields RSPB reserve, Nottingham