Migrating Swallows

Migrating Swallows

One of the UK’s most popular summer visitors is the Swallow. They arrive here in April and by early June most Swallows have started to breed.

The first brood of young has usually left the nest and flown away by July but the parents may go on to raise a second brood or even sometimes even a third.

By the time September comes most Swallows are preparing for their migration, and you may see them fluttering about and gathering on telegraph wires. The majority of Swallows will leave during September with many of the early brood of youngsters being the first to migrate.

Swallows take around six weeks to fly from the UK to migrate to the very south, traveling through western France and eastern Spain into Morocco. They then venture across the Sahara Desert and the Congo rainforest before finally reaching their destination of South Africa.

Swallow fledglings in nest

Swallows travel around two hundred miles a day mainly during daylight hours at speeds of 17-22 miles per hour and rest at night in huge flocks in reed-beds at traditional stopover spots.

Before migrating Swallows put on very little weight as they snap up flying insects along the way. However many will die of starvation and exhaustion but luckily for us, hundreds will arrive back in the UK between April and May.

Written by Angela and Chris

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