Tag Archives: swallow


Can you help Robin with this question

Does anyone know if the Swallow festival still happens in Rhodes, 

It is to celebrate the return of swallows.

Each year children dress up in cloaks, black back, white front and run through the streets carrying poles with carved swallows on the top.

There is still so much to learn about swallows, tho we have moved on from the idea that they hid in the mud over winter!

Thankyou so much for this website, fascinating


If there is such a Festival I’d love to go.  Does anyone know?  Can anyone help?


I have been getting reports of swallow decline  in some areas and good swallow numbers in other areas.  So  I am trying to find a way to put all the information together as the reasons could be complicated. I have found out that

The British Trust for Ornithology  have

1, Bird Track page at  http://www.bto.org/birdtrack/

Why not take a look and enter your swallow information there as at the moment I don’t have any means of putting all the information together – except by typing it (which I may do!)

 Here is a link to view the results  – 


 Have been  trying to see if there is a way to record all the swallow information I have received on my website and on my forum.   Wouldn’t it be great if we could.  Have looked at google maps and a site called Abundance Maps,but  the BTO are doing this recording which will help us understand the changes in swallow numbers.

I  spent time looking at  two mapping details  and I have put links below.   I do not think they are the best way to record the information and as I am not truly technical I did not understand them completely.

Breeding birds survey for mapping British birds –  http://www.ornitologia.org/publicacions/24_107_117.pdf

ABUNDANCE MAPS – http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/geotech/bbsmaps3.html


Our swallows will soon be gone.  For the past few years their numbers have declined.  I wish I knew why.  Because swallows cover a wide area of this Planet Earth it could be a variety of reasons.


A group called Swift Conservation are doing all they can to help the Swift population.

Click the link below to read about it



Decline in Swallow numbers

I have been receiving letters from readers saying they are seeing a decline in swallows.  

For this reason I have been asking why this should be happening.   

I have  heard that there, are in some areas, a devastating drop in swallows, house martins and swifts.

It has been said it could be global warming across the sahara and increased predation by Hobbys – they are birds of prey that can fly faster than swifts.

There is anecdotal stories about a big mortality around the Zambezi River when air temperature plummeted 20 deg C – swallows fell out of the sky. As I say this is only anecdotal but could be true.

There have also been two bad breeding seasons in England.


Hope there is a better breeding year this year. But we are so helpless with swallows, swifts and martins. We cannot feed them. It is maybe a more global problem.

I have read that if there is a reduction in swifts and swallows there will be in increase in insects – some of the insects cause illness to man

I wonder if this is a sure sign there is something wrong.

In some places there does not seem to have been a drop in numbers. I wonder why there is this fluxuation.

I have started a forum called at http://birdtablenews.com/forums/topic.php?id=10

I have started a topic about swifts and swallows, where information could be brought together. It’s new so not many chatting yet.








The Swift Tower at the Olympic Games in London and the Swift Nest boxes are being organised by  http://www.swift-conservation.org/

If you contact them please let me know if you do anything to help the Swifts.

If you find any anecdotal, factual or other information about the decline in swifts and swallows let me know.

Somewhere someone must be putting all this information together.


Decline in swift and swallow numbers

I keep hearing  that in some areas there has been a devastating drop in  swallows returning.  Also  house martins and swifts. 

I have been  asking questions and reading. 

It has been said it could be

  • global warming across the sahara and
  • increased predation by Hobbys – they can fly faster than swifts.

There is anecdotal stories about a big mortality around the Zambezi River when air temperature plummeted 20 deg C – swallows fell out of the sky.  As I say this is only anecdotal but could be true.

There have also been two bad breeding seasons in England.


 One  comment I have received is –

I live in Brackley Northamtonshire, we have had swallows nesting in the apex of our house roof for as long as i can remember, however this year have not even seen a single bird, or a swift for that matter, where are they all? Mike


Please – if you have any info, stories, have read a report about this,  or have actually seen a decline or increase in swallows, swifts and martins please let me know.   It only takes a jiff to leave a comment.


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  -info@bto.org  Hi, I have a website called birdtablenews.com.  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.



Migration of Swallows

 At the moment we definitely don’t have many swallows.  Where are they? 

Where have all the swallows gone.   Swallows migration should be ending now and they should be arriving here for the summer.


I wrote the following in my diary in 2007.  It is aboue swallow migration.  Since then I think the swallow numbers round about the stack yard have become less each year!!

This is as relevant today as it was two years ago!! –

I feel as though the family of swallows who come here every year, belong to our family. They have been coming to these buildings for well over 90 years. (Before my time!) It would be criminal and irreverent if, in our generation, swallow numbers dropped dramatically. If swallows stopped coming now it would be irreverent and heartbreaking. Part of nature that has been going on for years should not slowly decreases or stop because of man – but it does. Or could it be because of climate change? Now there is another issue.

I have taken these swallows for granted over the years. They are not a bird I can feed. They feed on insects. Its been nice when they arrive. It heralds the warm weather. Without them flitting about and zooming past our heads and perching on the telephone lines summer would not be the same. When we watch them gather to leave I can see it is some indescribable knowledge that brings them together to travel.

If we all originate from one source I wonder if the ‘migration DNA’ of our past is the core of why we like holidays and have the urge to flit round the world and flit home again.

If there is anyone who reads this web page who lives under the flight path of the swallows please contact me and comment

  A relative told me when she was abroad she saw some wild birds hung in cages in the heat of the day . One especially was going mad and it was terrified. She says, to this day, she still feels guilty for not paying to set it free. Is that what happens to our swallows?  Will anyone know?


 I really hope I see a flock of swifts arriving soon and that their migration has been successful .  It would make my summer

 swallow on the wing

A swallow on the wing


Back to May 2009.  I’m lucky that David sent me some swallow information and he saw his first swallow on 7th April on the Yorkshire Wolds.