HeidelbergCement Species Protection Programme Sand Martin
Installation of a “Sand Martin Shelter” at the Durmersheim pit and nature protection area
Why is this project needed?
The birds used the river banks as nesting areas after every high-water; unfortunately, these breeding areas are now lost as the result of flood control measures. Today, the birds breed nearly exclusively in extraction sites of the mining industry where the excavator shovel guarantees the birds’ survival. The species is the German Red List.
• Test the application of a new model of artificial nesting houses called “Sand Martin Shelter”.
• The knowledge of the Sand Martins increased by excursion and educational program for employees, school kids (in cooperation with KIS and HeidelbergCement Marketing department).
The Sand Martin is a popular bird in Germany and across Europe, and is known as a traditional messenger of spring. Sand Martin colonies are a suitable demonstration place where schoolchildren and adults can learn about the ecology and conservation of migratory and insectivorous birds. In addition, the artificial nest boxes give an unparalleled opportunity to observe closely the life and reproduction of these birds.
The Sand Martin is an indicator species that reflects the availability of insects and natural riverine habitats in a wider area. The disappearance of their colonies in many places around the world has mobilised thousands of local conservation initiatives.
Habitat management for sand martins at HeidelbergCement sites
• Annual and continuous control of the breeding areas, breeding holes, coordination of the mining and definition of the measures for the next breeding seasons.
• No mining as well as the continuation of work in excavation pits at the breeding season; if possibly secure the breeding area.
• Planning and realization of care measures: cutting of the steep faces after every breeding season with spavins or an excavator, so the Sand Martin can breed at the same place again next year.
• No back filling of the sand pits and gravel pits.
• Creation of top soil waste dumps.
• Available water bodies located in breeding areas should be kept from tourism activities as important foraging habitats may be disturbed.