Barn Swallows

Barn Swallows

Swallows are a bird species of the hirundinidae family which include the Sand Martins. The term “Barn Swallow” is used in Europe to distinguish between the Sand Martin and the Barn Swallow. The Barn Swallows arrive from Africa to start nesting in March around the spring equinox and stay until the Autumn equinox when they begin their return journey to their winter feeding grounds in sub Sahara Africa.
Barn Swallows return to the same area year after year building their nest up under roof eaves and in barns. The nests are cup shaped and made from mud. They use straw to bind it together, which is then lined with feathers. The female lays 3-6 white eggs with light brown to pale grey speckling. They can have 2 or 3 broods in a season; the success of this will be food and weather dependant. All of the food is caught on the wing giving a spectacular aerial display. They have a short beak but a wide mouth which is very efficient at catching flies and aphids which are fed to their chicks by both adults. Before the end of the breeding season they can be seen flocking together, as they line up on the power and telephone lines preparing for their return flight.

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