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Do swallows hibernate?

Sent in by Lizzy Agora

Swallows do not hibernate although they do 'disappear' during our winter. 

At one time, it was thought that they spent the winter hibernating in mud banks, even under the River Thames. This was understandable as it must have seemed that they vanished just as the weather began to turn colder for the winter. It was known that many wild creatures hibernated so assumed that swallows did the same. We know now though, that they are not sleeping, they are just elsewhere. 

They migrate, flying south to spend the winter in a warmer climate with an ample supply of the insect food they need. The swallows, which we see during our summer in the UK, fly all the way to South Africa. An incredible journey for such small birds that can fly at up to 22mph covering 200 miles in just one day. 

They usually return to our shores during April and May, although early birds may be spotted during March, so it will soon be time for us to look skywards to spot the first swallow of spring and very welcome they are too. 

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