Hundreds of migratory swallows found dead in southwestern France

The French Bird Protection Association La Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux (LPO) in Lot in southwestern France has launched a swallow rescue campaign after hundreds were found dead due to bad weather.

The inhabitants of Lot in the Middle Pyrenees, Occitania, report that many swallows suffer from cold and dampness and die of exhaustion after getting wet and freezing.

Stephanie Plaga Lemanski, director of LPO Lot, told the local newspaper La Dépêche: “One school in the department counted almost 50 dead swallows on their playground.”

She explained that the deaths were likely caused by unpredictable weather conditions, when a “bitter cold” hit the region and a sudden heavy rainfall.

European swallows, also known as “barn swallows,” are small birds with a blue back, red throat, pale or white underparts, and a long tail. They feed on flying insects.

They usually migrate to Africa in September, but sometimes leave until October in warmer years. They return to Europe around April and breed in June. A healthy swallow can live up to 16 years.

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