The Swallow, also known as a Barn Swallow is a wonderful bird arriving here in the Spring each year, it is a joy to watch swooping around at great speed and precision feeding on insects. They are small pretty little birds arriving here in the UK to breed, surprisingly according to the BTO the Swallow is listed with a conservations status of green, which is “least concern” despite the fact that numbers are falling they have not fallen to an endangered level. There are many factors which cause the fluctuation in Swallow numbers, dry hot springs here in the UK makes it hard for Swallows to find the mud they need to build a nest and prolonged wet weather means there are less insects for them to feed their brood causing chick starvation.
When do Swallows Migrate?
The Swallow arrives in the UK in early Spring, on average the end of March and start to migrate south as early as the end of August, however timings fluctuate depending on the season and availability of insects.
Where do Swallows Migrate to?
The Swallow migrates approximately 6000 miles to South Africa, across the Sahara Desert which is extremely hazardous, it takes up to 6 weeks for them to reach their winter destination.
Why do Swallows Migrate?
It is thought that Swallows migrate to the UK to safer breeding grounds, where insects are plentiful and there are less threats to their nests.
Do Swallows pair for life?
Once established pairs stay together to breed for life, returning to the same breeding ground to raise their young, both sexes defending the nest with the male being very territorial.
How does a Swallow build it’s nest?
Swallows prefer to nest in a dark space such as an old brick barn with easy access, but are also known to build on ledges under porches, they collect mud which is mixed with their saliva which is bound together with grass and lined with feathers, during dry spells it is helpful to create a muddy wet area in your garden to enable them to build, or you could buy a ready made Swallow nest to ensure they have a safe place to raise their fledglings.
With a diet of entirely flying insects caught on the wing the Swallow has many benefits for us, consuming hundreds per day they help keep our insect population under control.