Where Does a Swallow Build Its Nest?
A swallow builds its nest inside farm buildings and on ledges in old chimneys. The nest is made of mud, straw and saliva, with feathers and wool to line the inside. It takes a pair of swallows up to several weeks to make the saucer-shaped nest in the rafters of a barn.
Swallows start arriving in Europe at the end of March, a little earlier than their close relatives, the house martins. They spend the winter in South Africa and usually return to the same district-and even the same nest-where they settled before.
The female lays four or five eggs, white with reddish-brown speckles and sits on them for about fifteen days before they hatch out. Both parents then feed the nestlings with insects which they catch while flying. Swallows usually lay two sets of eggs.
They leave for their winter quarters in September, gathering in large flocks and often perching on telephone wires, before setting off. The young birds of the first brood leave before their parents and, by an inborn knowledge know which way to go.