Swallow, an animal as poetic as it is delicate and to be protected, above all undergoing migration since its movements are linked to the climate and the climate is constantly changing. Its habits are not so quick to change to accommodate certain upheavals largely caused by what we humans have done and produced on Earth.
In nature, originally, the swallow inhabited the rock walls looking for niches and cavities, or the clay walls creating nests near the entrance to the caves, on the sea cliffs or even under the branches of trees. Today, that the landscape is not as natural as it once was, it adapts to live even in more urban habitats by taking advantage of nests, including artificial ones, as well as roofs and balconies of buildings.
The swallows are insectivorous, 99% of their diet is made up of beings such as flies, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, beetles, moths and other similar flying insects that they capture on the fly, in the air, skillfully. Their physical conformation certainly helps them: in fact they have a long thin body ending with the forked tail that helps them to do acrobatic maneuvers, they see very well and the beak when open is very wide. All this makes them excellent hunters.
The swallow is a monogamous animal, once a soul mate is found, it reproduces between May and August and when a family is created, "single" adults, especially males, are associated with it, who act as helpers. This practice that may seem strange to us for these birds is absolutely normal, it is defined polygyny and it is of great help to the survival of the swallows.
A bird like the swallow is often linked to the concept of migration and is one of its most immediate symbols. There are the reasons: in winter the European swallows they migrate to South Africa covering about 11,000 km in the sky with an average pace of 322 km per day, at a speed of about 32.2 km / h.
From our country through western France, the Pyrenees and eastern Spain cross the Mediterranean around October and arrive in Morocco to then continue flying over the Sahara, to reach the Congo around November.
Usually the swallow migration occurs at times when sunlight is at low altitude, during the flight they manage to eat but without exaggerating because flying weighted would not be the best. At the same time this habit puts at risk the swallows they find themselves in travel many km with energy at the limit of malnutrition.
They do not reach high altitudes, in fact, they are almost at ground level so that we often can admire its beauty and elegance, on the sea, touching the waves and are greatly affected by changes in the climate. Global warming is already officially affecting the habits of swallows, times and routes but unfortunately it is difficult to keep pace. Swallows have always migrated and this "crazy" climate cannot help but take them by surprise.
In addition to the sky, the swallow can also appear on the skin, on the skin of those who decide to tattoo it. It is a rather traditional subject, "Old School" but what with time has changed its meaning. Before it was linked to the world of sailors or those who had been in prison, today one swallow on the wrist, ankle, back, is a symbol of freedom, conveys the passion for travel or identifies one independent spirit.
There are many swallow drawings, most of them are very schematic, as a child would draw them, a thin and graceful double mustache that looks upwards for freedom, looking for a better place to live peacefully. We also find this bird in a wonderful book published by Voland and written by Amélie Nothomb.
Belgian writer who lived for many years in Japan, Nothomb has entitled one of her novels "Swallow's diary" comparing this bird to a teenager who is one of the main characters of a painful but exciting story in which good and evil are not clearly distinguished, as often happens in life.
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