Crashing bird populations?

Little bit less than a year ago I posted a news on the extraordinary cold and rainy weather we experienced here. It had been raining like hell for four days which was followed by heavy and never seen floods. Birds struggled the most and we could do nothing just see the death of adults on the roads as well as the starvation of almost fledged chicks of many species. The most considerable and immediately visible loss was recorded on the local population of Barn Swallow.


Barn Swallow is an iconic species of the Hungarian countryside. © Szabolcs Kókay

It is the last third of April and Barn Swallows should already have formed pairs and started incubating their eggs. We all agree that arrival of Barn Swallows in late March make the spring official among birders. This March I was excitingly hunting for arriving swallows from the edge of the Old Lake without much success. There is one spot at the lake where a pair used to chirp every year upon their arrival. The last year’s survivor male has appeared in late March but has been singing alone since then. This is one sad segment, written a bit sentimentally, of the current status of Barn Swallow population. Every day I see just a few Barn Swallows (means 2-3 individuals only). Population has crashed in many part of our county. No breeding pairs were recorded in traditional nesting sites. I look forward to comments from other part of Hungary. It should be quite the same…


2 thoughts on “Crashing bird populations?

  1. Numbers are still well bellow average but at least I can see more birds now. It very much seems that we see a very delayed migration of the Hungarian population (???) of Barn Swallow. Very strange to see more Barns now. Should they belong to Scandinavian population?

  2. Today afternoon I saw hundreds of Barb Swallows and Common House Martins over the Old Lake, Tata. Temperature was well bellow the average (11°C). This means we have witnessed a very late migration. It has been observed in other bird species like European Bee-eater, Red-backed Shrike or European Roller. At least 3 weeks delay compared to previous years arrival.

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