Bank nest holes

Many birds nest in holes. Some nest in nat­u­ral cav­i­ties, some in ones they have ex­ca­vated them­selves. Only very few British birds ha­bit­u­ally make holes in banks by wa­ter bod­ies, or cliff faces of quar­ries etc. In fact, there are only two British breeding

Bird Watching (UK) - - Your Birding Month -

SAND MARTIN Sand Martins are colo­nial nesters and ex­ca­vate tun­nels in ver­ti­cal banks in soft rock or com­pacted sand or mud, of­ten next to wa­ter. They will re­turn to pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied bur­rows. The tun­nels are a few cen­time­tres in di­am­e­ter and can be up to me­tre in depth. The are of­ten ar­ranged in rows near the top of a cliff, but may be more ‘ran­domly’ or­gan­ised. At the end of the tun­nel is a small ex­panded chamber wherein they lay four or five eggs on the straw and feather lin­ing. Ap­par­ently, the males dig the bur­rows and the fe­males pre­pare the end chamber, though this would be very tricky to ob­serve! Sand Martin nest banks can be ar­ti­fi­cially cre­ated to at­tract colonies.

KINGFISHER King­fish­ers are soli­tary nesters (ie the pair will nest a long way from any other pair), ex­ca­vat­ing a bur­row into sandy banks usu­ally next to wa­ter. The nest hole is usu­ally about half a me­tre from the top of the bank, and needs to be clear of the wa­ter, and also rel­a­tively free of veg­e­ta­tion, for easy ac­cess on the wing. Kingfisher bur­rows are c.6cm in di­am­e­ter and 60-90cm deep. As with Sand Martins, there is an un­seen chamber at the end, but it is un­lined. The clutch is usu­ally 6-7 eggs. Oc­cu­pied nest holes may be be­trayed by white­wash (drop­pings) un­der the en­trance. If you can see this, then sit and wait at a de­cent dis­tance and even­tu­ally an adult Kingfisher will visit the hole.

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