In 2017 the ABO began a long term research programme looking at the productivity of our Swallows by ringing chicks in the nests through the birds breeding season. The Swallow is an iconic example of long distance sub-Saharan migration, the birds travelling between wintering grounds in South Africa and breeding grounds across Europe in just 10 days each spring and autumn.
The study not only monitors the local population dynamics, it is also showing us how long young birds remain on the island post fledging, ahead of their epic journeys and how many are returning here to breed after hatching on this island in previous years. After a long cold spell this spring our Swallows are over two weeks behind what we have seen to be an average breeding cycle, but we are delighted to report encouraging numbers of chicks with 4 or 5 in every nest we are monitoring.
Photo: a Swallow nest this morning with a couple young chicks peering out.