Gironde: the inhabitants place false nests to attract swallows, a species in decline 

It is a vulnerable species that is currently in decline. The swallow is becoming increasingly rare in France and Europe. To attract this graceful harbinger of good weather, a major project is therefore being carried out in the Gironde. The idea is simple, but rather surprising: install false nests in private houses.

According to future, the population of barn swallows in Europe has declined by 20 to 50% since 1970. A significant decline for this species, which plays an essential role in the balance of ecosystems. Faced with this emergency situation, a bird reinforcement project will take place in the spring, near the Bassin d’Arcachon. And to carry out this mission, the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) relies on the inhabitants of the region.

A total of 30 households have been selected to place an artificial nest in their home. These families come from the municipality of Mios, in the canton of Gujan-Mestras, in the Gironde. A location strategically chosen by the Environmental Protection Association. These nests (one per household) are currently being placed (in barns, stables, etc.) by a group of residents, but also by members of the LPO and the municipality.

What do these fake nests look like?

These small structures are made by children from a pile of mud (they are built by birds from mud, clay, grass, feathers or even twigs). These artificial nests reproduce almost identically the natural habitat of swallows and thus can house the female and her eggs (between 4 and 5) as they hatch.

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Photo: Shutterstock

As a reminder, destroying a swallow’s nest is punishable by three years in prison and a fine of 150,000 euros. The price to be paid to protect this species is declining.

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