Saturday, 12 September 2015

Bird of the week - Swallow

It is always a joy to see the first swallows in spring and sad to see them depart in autumn.  They will be leaving soon on their 6000 mile round trip to South Africa, returning next spring.  Swallows (Hirundo rusticausually produce two broods each year and the older chicks can help feed their younger siblings in the later brood.  These chicks were being fed by their parents last week.

The parent was often accompanied by another bird which I think was probably a slightly more mature young bird still hoping for a feed.

The best part of a million pairs of swallows visit the UK each year.  The Bird Atlas shows that swallows are found across most of lowland UK but are less common in the south east.

The population has increased in the west but declined in the east (and in Northern Ireland).

Overall the English population is stable or increasing.

This graph from BirdTrack shows that swallows arrive in early April and most leave between now and mid October. The red line shows historical data and the blue line data up to last week.

Read more about swallows here.  Listen to Kate Humble's BBC Radio 4 Tweet of the Day on swallows here.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful and balletic! The intensity and movement are vividly captured. It is a delight to see these wonderful photos. Thanks, Chris!