The Great Journey of the Swallow
At this time of the year all across England it’s not unusual to see swallows diving and darting effortlessly through the air, turning on a sixpence to catch a helpless insect. Most people know they have come over from Africa, but how and why do such a huge number of swallows make this effort each year?
It always staggers me to discover that such a small bird can fly 8000 miles from southern Africa; this means flying 200 miles a day, averaging 6 weeks of virtually non-stop flying time, only stopping briefly to catch food and rest in large flocks at reed-beds. The birds reach the UK by travelling from east Africa into Spain via Morocco, then from Spain to western France before reaching Great Britain. Then, several months later they repeat this same journey back to Africa in September/October.