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.

1 thought on “Swallows – very few here but two fields away there are so many swallows

  1. garth lowe

    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.

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