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Swallows Have Arrived Back In Co. Tipperary.

The first Swallows of 2021 arrived here in Co. Tipperary some 14 days ago, as first spotted and reported by Littleton correspondent Mr Michael Bannon.

The Swallows, now visiting Tipperary, weigh in at about 20 grams and have flown over 5000 km, passing over the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea, just to share our air space and rear a family, before returning home in Early September.

These beautiful ‘Barn Swallows’, as they are commonly called, because of their favoured nesting sites, (built of mud and lined, close to overhead shelters in locations that are protected from the weather), have a distinctive appearance, [See featured picture], and are highly adapted to aerial feeding, consuming up to an estimated 850 flies and mosquitoes, per bird, each day, during their 4 month residence here.

If you are lucky enough to house a nest of Swallows this summer, a single couple together with their new born, could eliminate some 3,000 flies and mosquitoes per day, during their sojourn in your area, making them a most effective and environmentally friendly insecticide.

“Swallows High – Staying Dry”

“Swallows High – Staying dry”, my very wise grandmother Eliza Jane would often recite; as she finished her outdoor activities of a summers evening. Rural dwellers, back then, were far more observant of Mother Nature’s ways than possibly most people today.

Of course Swallows, as stated, swoop and dive plucking insects from the air. On fine days, when air pressure is high, tiny insects are swept up high on warm thermal currents which rise from the earths surface. This forces Swallows to head upwards after them, in search of food.

When air pressure is low, rain is more likely, and Swallows, in search of a meal, will find it necessary to swoop closer to the ground to find a meal.
Thus this bird behaviour provides an excellent guide to current and future, short term, weather conditions.

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