Decline in Swallows Returning

Is there a decline in the number of swallows returning to England. 

I think there is.  We have had fewer here this year.

Here are two observations I have received about the decline of swallows –

I live in a town s.e. Gloucestershire, population approx 3500. For the first time for at least 25 years (as long as we have lived here) no swallows have returned to nest in our shed.

I see none overhead in the town. Some martins, only one or two swifts instead of dozens.

I miss them each day, as they always fill me with delight while they are with us.

Why haven’t they come back – have there been bad storms in their winter homelands? Spin-off : we have noticed a lot more flies & midges than usual.



We usually have three or four swallow nests in an outbuilding every year and countless swallows.

So far this year we have have only had fleeting glances of one or two swallows. Date 2ndof June

What is going on? I am not even sure what time of year they usually nest?


  • Are swallow numbers declining all over Britain?
  • Is climate change affecting bird migration?

 To be able to help swallows we need to understand migration – which is difficult.

  • Weather affects the timing of a swallows migration.
  • It is not easy to help the swallows – we cannot put bird food out.


 I have sent this short email to The British Trust for Ornothology  Hi, I have a website called  I have been getting comments about the decline in swallow numbers this year.  One person said it was the first time in 25 years that swallows had not nested in his shed.

Here on the farm we have fewer swallows.  Swallows have been coming here for over 60 years (before my time).  They are declining.  Do you know of any reason.


I will let you know what reply I got.  I have also asked other people and will see what replies I get.



Last week on Springwatch there was a discussion about another migrant bird – The cuckoo.  It’s numbers are declining this year.  I wonder if the same thing is happening to the Swallows.

Swift numbers are declining and I have read that this may mean that insect numbers will increase.  I will put  a link in to an article about that tomorrow.


Swallow returning home to Yorkshire


Pleast let me know what you think.



3 thoughts on “Decline in Swallows Returning

  1. maureen

    hi, i was just wondering why the swallows seemed to be in decline this year,they usually come over in their droves and nest in the rafters of my sons old garage/barn building next to his house,often flying around inside the house, they’ve been doing this for the past 10 years or so and they all used to sit in a line on the telegraph pole wires chattering away. i’ve noticed just the odd one sitting there this year and wondered where they had all gone

  2. maureen

    hi, i was wondering where all the swallows had gone and came across this site, i live in middle england and in the past years the swallows have been coming over in their droves to nest in the rafters of my sons old garage/barn building,often flying around in his house and perching outside on the telegraph pole wires in a long line chattering away but this year i’ve only noticed the odd one sitting there

  3. Trish Post author

    Hi Maureen, Thank you for getting in touch with me.

    I have had other comments about the declline in swallows. I have recently started a forum. this is somewhere where people can get together and information can be kept under one heading. I have put a copy of your comment on the forum.

    It is so difficult with swallows as we cannot feed them as we can other birds. A lot of the time the problem could be caused in other parts of the world – maybe climate problems, lack of food etc. As the swallows cover such a vast area of the world when they are migrating it makes it difficult to give just one answer. I will look into it as much as I can and try and put info together on the forum as well as on birdtablenews.

    I have also read an article where it says that swifts could be extinct in 20 years. I don’t know if the same reasons can be applied to swallows, but will look into it. If you click this link You will see that a group of people are trying to help save the swift by building a swift tower at the Olympics and also doing other things.

    If you would like to go to the forum here is the link. It is new so do not expect a lot of members yet.

    Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to contact me. Trisha from Bird Table News

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