Swallows and house martin numbers down?

Near me in the east riding of yorkshire we normally get the first visitors arrive around the 9th of april, last year was the 21st and 2019 the first was the 23rd.

Numbers normally start to grow rapidly into a good sized community of swallows and martins......so far though there are so few i can count them on two hands....

Have others seen similar....could it be that the birds that normally come to my area have had a problem on the migration, or is there a general poor migration number this year?

  • Yes. Certainly seem lower than a usual start to May. I've usually seen a swift or two by now as well. A few about apparently, but I've not seen any myself yet.
  • I am in Cumbria and we have 5 house martin nests in our low eaves and one in the higher eaves. For several years we have had 3 to 6 nests occupied and each producing 2 or 3 broods. So far this year only one pair have returned after a record nmber left last year. I walk around the area every day with my black lab and have seen 2 swallows (today) and 2 house martins (may be our pair! ) and no swifts. There are usually loads down by the pub but did not see or hear one yesterday. I feel really sad and worried. I did write a question about it so repeat on here (sorry). Is it too late to hope we will see more this year? Does anyone know why the huge loss?
  • Still low numbers here. Briefly saw a max of 8, but only seems to be a core number of 4 sticking around the area, and all are now keeping clear of our house.
  • Yep, been driving around for work today, not seen one....i thought i was been generous yesterday when i said i could count them on two hands :(...

    I can actually only remember seeing three in our village and one near a farm down the road over the last few days.....but its now lunch time and working in a radius of ten miles from home not one....
    very sad and concerned....
    the site of swallows/martins/swifts swooping through the sky and the bree bree of them chasing each other is so heart warming...and to make it worse the only nest on our house, that has been there for years, has half collapsed ..... :(((

    Has anyone got any idea as to the reason for the low numbers???
  • Ours arrived in the village the other day - Swallows and House Martins. I have seen large numbers feeeding on our local reservoir(Durham/Northumberland border) over the last few days, more than I see there through the summer so I expect they may be stocking up before crossing the borders into Scotland.




    My Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bobs_retired_now/

  • I live in South Cumbria and have lived in the same house for 25 years.
    This is the first year I haven't seen any swallows in the nearby church tower which is very sad.
    I really miss them flying around in the evening and the sound they make.
    Very worrying.
    Has anyone else in South Cumbria experienced the same?
  • Yes, I am in south cumbria, near Broughton in Furness. Still no more sightings. 2 House martins nesting on our house and have seen two swallows flying around, that's it. So sad as the house martins had such a good breeding season last year. All that hard work and effort by these lovely birds for what?
    I must admit I have not completely given up hope yet, although ours usually arrive mid April. Does anyone know if they have arrived this late in past years?
  • Still a max of 8 house martins here.
  • :(
    Today, Still only seen two from a distance so couldn't identify them....

    A customer mentioned netting stories in northern africa...did a duckduckgo search (my preferred search engine over google for privacy/advertising reasons) and found the following daily mail article from the 5th of May.. which is a bit sickening...


    this needs to be investigated properly, then a real course of action taken at a global/governmental level if true, as I don't remember ever seeing this sudden decline in numbers... so i think it's gone to commercial levels...please correct me if i'm wrong....

    Really concerned for the future of our southward migrating birds ....
  • Very hard to tackle. There are existing laws in what are meant to be civilised parts of the World (e.g. Europe), but unless there is enforcement, public engagement at a local level, gets people's own houses in order, it's extremely difficult to do much. Hopefully, something can and will be done, but mass slaughter still goes on in Europe, so very hard to get change in Africa as well....