Swallow breeding, ringing and migration

I hope this gets through to a bird person called Trish.
I have only just got connected to the Bird Table News because I needed to know more about swallows.
Like you, I am fascinated by them and very privileged to have had them nesting.

 They first arrived 15 yr ago and gave us a lesson in life. Our first couple bred 4 chicks and after sussing out their poo patterns, we worked out when they fledged.

Best of all was when Mum+Dad returned every night to the rafters +their offspring followed suite without fail. returned to help them feed the 2nd brood.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, this year , we have had our best ever year , with 30 fledglings.
Big Daddy arrived 3rd week April. Offspring+wife soon behind + for 1st time we had 3 simultaneous nests (twice over ).
most are now doing the telegraph wire bit , but there’s a late brood with tiny chicks that I’m worried about.
will let you know .
by the way we live in wet Wales next to a cattle field.with plenty of flies.


just wanted to let you know that the fllies like the cow-pats :particularly rich this year after all the rain!
I have also wanted to get info about migration
via a really lovely book called “A single Swallow” written by a young friend of mine -Horatio Clare.,

I actually visited a professor in South Arica who has done research with “ringing”.this year. I told him I could and would willingly help him as all our birds fly though a little window we have kept without glass on the garage door.
I simply love the fact that they are with us + are part of the family!
best wishes


The above is a interesting swallow breeding information.   I was wondering –

Cows attract flies. 
Many, many dairy herds are having to be sold because farmers cannot make any money.
Instead of grass fields to feed cows there may be corn fields
Could this contribute to less  feeding for swallows?

5 thoughts on “Swallow breeding, ringing and migration

  1. Susan Cowan

    We have swallows every year and they are an absolute delight. This year however, we have a late hatching and the parents are very busy so now the young are up and flying but they are all still here (early October)! Has anyone else had them so late? We live on a hill farm in Scotland just outside Edinburgh so I do worry about them. I’ve just read on the some site that some overwinter in the south of England- hopefully ours will adopt this strategy!

  2. Judith Hendy

    Good morning!
    I have just spotted seven young swallows swooping across the gardens and fields. Looks as though they are congregating on the wires ready to go, but, surely, they are very late.
    I do hope they make it safely, they are such beautiful birds and a joy to have around all summer.
    Maybe someone can let me know how safe these late birds are.
    Many thanks

  3. Judith Hendy

    Today, 18th October, there are even more swallows congregating. We are at The Lizard, in Cornwall. Surely, these swallows are leaving it very late to go.

  4. Trish Post author

    Hellow Judith, I think the answer is that they are not very safe.
    I do agree with you that that they are beautiful birds and you are right they do give us joy to see them.

    When swallows are this late setting off there is a good chance that they will meet bad weather on their migration as the seasons change.

    It is something that is out of our control. Maybe they stayed because they were the last ones to fledge and because there is still food here. We’ll just have to wish them well.

    They are brave little things aren’t they. I know it is bred in them to migrate, but to fly off into the unknown not knowing if you will arrive safely is something that nature has decreed will happen.

    Thanks for getting in touch with me.

    I have started a Bird Table News forum and will put this on my forum as well. Trisha

  5. Trish Post author

    Hello Again Judith, Yes they are leaving it late.
    Maybe it is a sign of climate change, seasons changing.
    This will be bad for migrating birds because if the seasons / climate does change then the flies / insects food that the swallows eat may breed at a different time and may not be around for the swallows to feed on.

    Plus if the swallows leave it late to go – the weather may have changed for the worse. Sorry I’m not painting a very good picture am I.

    I’m sure a lot of the swallows will get through.


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