This migratory bird has a glossy blue/black plumage and a deeply forked tail, and is a common sight in Norfolk through spring and summer. The swallow is also a much welcomed bird, as it is commonly thought of as a forerunner of spring.
The UK swallow population is estimated as something in the region of 375,000 pairs, and although they are still widely distributed their numbers are in overall decline. The main reason for this is believed to be deterioration in the quality of feeding habitat in both their breeding and wintering grounds. Another factor is diminishing availability of suitable nesting sites as farms are modernized and other ramshackle buildings are renovated or demolished. The swallow is now an Amber List species which means it is of medium conservation concern and has a population or range that has declined moderately in recent years.
Related questions & advice
The British Trust for Ornithology carries out many surveys to monitor bird populations and actively seeks assistance from members of the public. For more information, go to their website at www.bto.org
. Alternatively you can take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch
which normally takes place in January.
Picture by Pat Adams