Injured swallow – advice needed

We have been looking after an injured young swallow that we found on the 23rd August – we have had it for a week now.

We found it on the ground with an apparently broken wing. Amazingly, it made no attempt to get away and allowed us to pick it up.

We decided to look after it, rather than allow it to end up the meal of a cat or fox or such like. We now have it in a canary cage and are feeding it live and dried mealworms, flies etc.

We are trying to teach it to help itself to food and water! We are are considering ways of maintaining a live food supply throughout the winter.

We will also have to make sure it is kept warm but we do not know what an appropriate temperature range would be.

It is really cute but we are saddened by the fact it is on its own. Is it possible to get hold of another (injured?) swallow from somewhere to keep it company.

How can we find out if ours is a make or female?


I received the above comment.  Does anyone have a detailed knowledge of swallows?

Temperature – I have found out that Swallows follow a 48 degree isotherm (an isotherm is a line on a map connecting same monthly temperature).  I don’t know if that helps.  Will see if I can find out more.

The temperature will be important, but in Summer in England you do get cold, wet weather as well as warm weather.  Swallows migrate when  the food supply here becomes non existant.  Your little swallow has food, warmth, water and care. 

I will try and see if anyone else is looking after an injured swallow.   Perhaps you could put it near a window where it could see other birds.  Or put a recording on of birds singing. 

Maybe it doesn’t matter if you know if it is male or female


I have only just received this comment ten minutes ago.  I’m sorry you have had difficulty posting this question on Bird Table News.  I’ll look into the reason why.

I have put your questions on a birding group that I belong to on Twitter.  I have also put it on a Bird Forum I belong to. 

I would like to thank you  for taking the time to care for it.  I hope you succeed.   I’m sure you’ll connect with the swallow and be prepared to look after it all winter.  I will research and see what else I can find.

Please keep me in touch with how you are getting on. 

I know I haven’t answered all your questions but wanted to get this problem onto Bird Table News so that other people can help.


7 thoughts on “Injured swallow – advice needed

  1. alison

    We have a injured swallow that we are looking after, found it this morning on the ground not sure what its injury is. but we live in dartmouth devon.

  2. Jullie-Ann

    URGENT!!! I also picked up a injured swallow this morning.. Is there someone that can take care of it, I’m scared it’s gonna die. I am in Pretoria. PLEASE!
    Regards Jullie-Ann

  3. Trish Post author

    Hi Julilie-Ann. I’ve only just seen your appeal for help.

    It isn’t easy to feed swallows. they feed on insects on the wing. Sometimes sad things happen. I don’t know how you could feed it.

    You must be a caring person. If the swallow dies at least you know you tried.

    I have had someone from New Zealand tell me how he saved a fledgling house sparrow by feeding it cat food, but they are two entirely different types of bird.


  4. Jo

    My son is skippering a round the world yacht in a race. They are in the Southern Ocean and have a stowaway swallow that is too weak to fly on board. Any advice at all as to how they could look after it would be very welcome. NB They will have to do it with whatever they have on board, and take it to the nearest rescue centre is not an option as they are >3000 nautical miles from their destination in Australia.

  5. Trish Post author

    I’m sorry I haven’t seen your question before now. It is so difficult with swallows as they eat insects which they catch in flight. It is kind of your son and his friends to take care of this swallow, and I think they will have done the best they can with what they have on board.

    I feel for this little swallow, but I do not know any advice to give you and I think I am too late anyway.

    Birds are so fragile when you see them close to and I’m sure they have done the best they can for it and I hope against hope it survived

  6. jacks

    Hi Trish…..I have just received an injured swallow like yourself…..please could you advise exactly what you are feeding it on……..any help would be greatly appreciated.


  7. joe murphy

    Found an injured Swallow on the ground of a Garage, somebody had closed the Door and Windows, which is a Stupid and Cruel thing to do when Swallows are in residence.

    Put it back in the nest, and hopefully it will have time to recover. May be just stunned. Don’t think their is much that can be done if its Wing is broken.

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