22 February 2023
BeKZN recently hosted a special event to welcome the return of the Barn Swallows to their roosting site at the Lake Victoria wetland. The event, which was held at the Mount Moreland Barn Swallow Viewing site attracted 53 members. During the summer these incredible little birds congregate each night to roost in the Lake Victoria wetland. Every year, these birds return to the reed bed and spend the summer foraging in the surroundings before setting off again on their migration journey.
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustic are small birds that are known for their acrobatic flying skills. These birds are migratory, and they undertake an incredible journey every year from their breeding grounds in Europe and Asia to their wintering grounds in Africa. During their migration, they cover thousands of kilometres, often flying for long periods without stopping. Barn Swallows are insectivores, which means that they primarily feed on flying insects such as flies, beetles, and mosquitoes. They catch their prey while in flight, using their incredible flying skills to dart and swoop through the air.
The sight and sound of millions of Barn Swallows coming in to roost in the reed bed is truly breathtaking, and it is a highlight of the bird-watching calendar for many people in the region. As we start moving to the end of summer the numbers increase as the birds start coming together for their return migration. This makes February and March a good time to observe this event. The group from the club got together in the late afternoon, and people picnicked and watched the sun go down as they waited for the Barn Swallows to arrive. As the sun began to set, the first Barn Swallows started gathering on the horizon, and soon thousands of birds were swooping and diving over the reed bed.
The event was a wonderful opportunity for members to socialise and observe an amazing event. It was also a chance for people to learn more about the Barn Swallows and their incredible migration journey. BeKZN is committed to conservation and education, and events like this help to raise awareness about the importance of protecting these important habitats for migratory birds.