Martin, or Hirundo urlica, L. a well known bird of passage, which makes its annual appearance in Britain, from the beginning of April to the middle of May, according to the state of the weather.—See Swallow.
Common Martin, or Mustela foina, L. an animal of prey, which inhabits Britain, Germany, France, and the South of Europe. It is a most elegant and lively quadruped, its motions being exceedingly nimble. The female breeds in hollow trees, and produces, while young, three or four; but, when several years old, frequently six or seven martins at a litter; which, in winter, have sometimes been found deposited in the nests of magpies.
These animals are very destructive to poultry, eggs, etc. in farmyards. With a view to obtain access to pigeon-houses, or ben-roosts, they climb rough walls with facility. As they are remarkably fond of honey and hemp-seed, they might be thus easily entrapped :—their skin and excrements emit a musky odour.
Martins are tamed with great difficulty, never forming any attachment, so that they must always be chained. Nevertheless, if properly secured, they are very useful in farm-yards, for destroying rats, mice, etc.
The skins of the Russian martins, furnish a beautiful fur: when imported, they pay a duty of 3l. and 6d. per timber of 40 skins : the sum of 12s. 1 1/2d. is also payable lor every 120 tails passing through the custom-house, in a raw-or undressed state.