As summer skies grow quieter with fewer swallows, the decline of these agile birds in the UK has become a pressing concern. Climate change, habitat loss, and reduced insect populations are major factors. However, there is still hope for swallows, as you can make a difference right in your garden.

Why Swallows Are Declining?

Swallows migrate to the UK in April, seeking nesting sites and abundant food. Yet, rising temperatures and unpredictable weather patterns disrupt their breeding and migration. Furthermore, the decline in insect populations, their primary food source, exacerbates the problem.

How can we help swallows?

Install a swallow nest cup!

One effective way to support swallows is by installing swallow nest cups. These cups provide ready-made nesting sites, saving swallows the effort of gathering materials and building nests. Place the nest cups in sheltered locations such as porches or outbuildings with easy access through an open door or window. Ensure there’s at least 6 cm of free space above the cup and space multiple cups at least 1 meter apart.

Buy a Swallow Nest Cup

This sturdy and affordable swallow nest cup will be the perfect home to entice swallows to your garden.

Encouraging Insects in Your Garden

Swallows thrive on a diet of flying insects. By making your garden insect-friendly, you can help sustain their food supply. Here are some top tips.

Plant Flowers

Plants and flowers attract local insects, and various plants that bloom at different times provide swallows with a continuous food source. Some great plants to consider are crocuses, honeysuckle, foxgloves, viper’s bugloss, lavender, hawthorn, sedums, hellebore, bluebells, forget-me-nots, allium, snapdragon, buddleia, hardy geraniums, mint, marjoram, wisteria, iris, hollyhocks, and sunflowers.

Create a Water Source

Creating a water source, such as a small pond, bird bath, or water feature, can significantly attract insects while providing swallows with a consistent supply of drinking water.

Avoid Pesticides

Avoiding pesticides is crucial, as these chemicals can harm insect populations. Instead, use natural pest control methods to maintain a healthy and thriving garden ecosystem. For example, ladybirds love to eat aphids, so are excellent pest controllers for stopping this small black insect from ruining your garden plants.

Compost Pile

Starting a compost pile is another effective strategy. Composting organic waste creates a rich habitat for insects, which in turn attracts swallows to your garden.

Wildflower Area

Consider designating a section of your garden as a wildflower area. Allowing this area to grow wild supports a diverse range of insects, further enhancing the habitat for swallows.

By taking these steps, you can create a welcoming environment for swallows, helping to ensure their graceful presence in our summer skies for years to come.