Good news of the day: already more than 5,000 ‘swallow-friendly houses’ in Lower Saxony

(Iconic painting) Swallow

A lot of bad things happen every day, but also a lot of good things. Unfortunately, the good news is too rarely found in the press. Now that will change as HASEPOST reports at least one “good news” daily from the region and around the world if possible.

Due to the spring temperatures in Germany, most of the swallows have returned from their winter quarters in Africa. Unfortunately, the population of flying messengers of happiness is declining year by year. But more and more homeowners are getting involved in protecting swallows and swifts, and support is still possible and reasonable.

It has long been known that the numbers of barn swallows and martins have dropped dramatically. For centuries, both species were taken for granted in our villages and towns, but especially here there are fewer and fewer suitable breeding sites, making birds much less likely to be seen in the sky. In Lower Saxony, the barn swallow is already under threat, the house swallow is on the Early Warning List of Lower Saxony and Bremen.

The first barn swallows returned from the end of March, the first house swallows in early April. “Even if most of the birds have already returned to us, it is still possible to help summer heralds breeding aids, clay puddles and gardens full of insects” – he exclaims Gina Briehl from NABU Lower Saxony to catch the swallows under their wings. “In 2021, a further 376 nature lovers offered swallows a safe home with breeding aids, so Lower Saxony has already granted a total of 5276 ‘swallow-friendly homes’.” have become rare.

Breeding sites are difficult to find

The light-white house swallow, recognizable by its light-white rump and belly, and deep-cut tail, is well-known primarily to city dwellers: it builds its nearly closed nests on rough, plastered house walls or under a sheltered eaves. As sedentary animals, swallows like to use old, existing nests and repair them with fresh clay. In cities, however, clay is often lacking as a building material. “Open, moist soil areas help swallows replace old nests,” explains Briehl. “Where this is not possible, artificial nests may be installed under protrusions at a height of at least 2.5 meters.”

Barn swallows, easily identified by their brownish-red tinge to their throat and forehead, and shiny metallic plumage, feel better in rural areas and prefer beams or wall protrusions in stables, barns, or garage sheds. Unfortunately, the necessary access hatches are increasingly closed after renovation or are not even available in new buildings. “Many shops and stables do not need to be completely closed, at least in the warm half of the year, the entrance hatch is already sufficient for barn swallows. In addition, they do not threaten our health and eat annoying flies and mosquitoes – explains the NABU employee.

Puddles of clay help build nests

If you have a garden, backyard or meadow, you can create clay puddles that will help build nests. Barn swallows and house swallows use their saliva to form small balls of clay, clay, or muddy earth, which they use to build new nests or repair old ones. It’s a good idea to create clay puddles as early as April and keep them moist all summer long. In addition, special artificial sockets can be attached under the eaves, which can be bought in stores or, with a little practice, build them yourself. Houses, halls, barns and other places are suitable for fastening quick nesting boxes, where the mounting height should not be less than six meters.

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