Monthly Archives: September 2010

Swallow recording and ringing in Worcestershire


Thank you Garth for sending this interesting information

Here in west Worcestershire the swallows have had a good season in my parish, and the adjoining ones.

 I managed to ring broods in 55 nests, some of which were double brooded, giving a total of 238 juveniles.

I also had a good return of ringed birds from last year, 10 out of this years catch of 43 and was my best average for returning adults.

The average brood was 4.2 and I kept records for the BTO on 35 pairs.
We have just returned from a HF holiday near Malham where there seemed to be no shortage of swallows and one had used a nest I found in a passagway.

A very interesting find was at Bolton Castle, where on Wed 8th Sept I noticed a nest in a stairway still with young, and enjoyed watching the adults coping with all the visitors using the stairs. If there were people under the nest they just sat on a light lower down and waited for them to move away.

As the daylight shortens their inbuilt desire to move south will take over, with them taking two months to fly to South Africa, then stay two months before they return to give us more pleasure next spring.


I didn’t realise that swallows take two months to fly to South Africa.  What inbuilt knowledge they have.

Thanks for sending this.  It must be wonderful to ring swallows.  Is it difficult?

Swallows – very few here but two fields away there are so many swallows

All summer we have commented and pondered about how few swallows there are flying about our heads this summer.

Each summer the number of swallows reduces.  I remember when the sky was alive with them.

Now we see that two fields away there is a bountiful number of swallows.

Nature is unexplainable.

We have the same nesting sites.  We seem to have the same number of flies!  We still have the herd of cows – which attrack swallows.

So, all is not lost with the swallows and it was wonderful to see so many

I’d love to be able to do what  a 12C  German Prior did –

About the 12th Century in Germany a Prior in a Monastery fixed a parchment to a swallow’s leg asking –

 ‘Swallow where do you live in winter’

The following spring the Prior received the reply attached to the swallow’s leg

‘In Asia, the home of Petrus’.


Amazing.  What a simple idea.  How did the Prior catch the swallow?  Did he expect a reply? 

From that piece of parchment it was discovered that swallows flew from Germany to Asia. 


About 1740 a man called Johann Leonard Frisch tied some wool to swallows’ legs. 

He wanted to find out if the same swallow returned to the same nest year after year. 

The following Spring he found out that they do!


I anticipate the return of the swifts and swallows every Spring and know they return but there are only a handful on this farm at present.

Feeding birds but not writing about them

I’m still feeding my garden birds every day.  I still put loads of birdfood out near the hedge and still get a variety of birds, which I enjoy watching from my kitchen window.

We are getting rabbits and pheasants still visiting!  A blackbird was resting in the dry soil.  It looked as though it had made a nest in the soft soil and had settled down for a snooze

The smaller birds still enjoy the meshed ground feeder.  They are safe inside.

Blackbirds and thrushes don’t have safety and hop about in the hedgerow, then along the grass.

Today I saw the feathers of a dead bird on the grass.  It will either be a sparrowhawk or a cat.

I hope it is a sparrowhawk that attacked and killed the bird.  At least that my move on.  A cat on the other hand will prowl all night long and kill so many birds.

As you can see I haven’t been writing much lately.  This is due to computer problems, internet problems and health problems.

I always seem to have something wrong with my computer.

I often can’t seem to access Bird Table News to write about anything birdy!   That’s due to computer problems.

I have back and knee problems – Oh dear me!  I am supposed to do healthy things now like swimming and yoga to help my back and knees.   It doesn’t do me any good to sit at a computer for a long length of time.

I will still be writing about birdy things sometimes and I will still check in to see if anyone has asked a question that I can help with.

But what I won’t be doing is writing every day or even every week.  I will be too busy feeding birds, doing yoga and swimming.  Sounds too energetic for me!