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Last Updated: Monday May 16 2011 14:56 GMT

More mud needed to help build bird nests

Swallows in a nest

It's not every day you're asked to make fresh mud, but that's exactly what bird charity the RSPB wants people to do, to help birds build their nests.

The recent warm, dry weather has left ground rock-hard across most of the UK.

That's making it tough for species such as house martins and swallows to get the mud they need to make their homes.

So now the RSPB wants people to get into the habit of leaving fresh mud out at the same time as leaving food for the birds.

The RSPB says it's had lots of reports of house martins inspecting their old nests but not finding any mud to repair them.

House martins use mud pellets to build a dome-shaped nest under the eaves of houses. But as the mud dries out, the nests lose their stickiness and can fall to the ground.

The solution? Well, the charity suggests putting wet mud in a shallow container, like a bin lid, or creating muddy patches at the edge of garden borders or in bare patches of grass.

As well as using the mud to build new nests, birds will be able to use it to mend existing ones.