Swallow chicks cooked in the heat of Spain

Swallow chicks cooked in the heat of Spain

Hundreds of swallows have died in southern Spain after leaving their nest prematurely. Environmentalists say they tried to escape the extreme temperatures during one of the country’s first heat waves.

Samples of the protected species sparked concern last weekend after residents of Seville and Cordoba spotted dozens of recently hatched and dying birds scattered on the sidewalks.

A Seville-based association called Ecourbe, which is responsible for protecting the environment in urban areas, blamed the extreme temperatures: Spain experienced its first heat wave in more than 40 years, coinciding with the swallow’s mating period.

These birds often build their nests in the facades of buildings or in the cavities of roofs, leaving only small cracks free. “Our buildings are usually made of concrete or sheet metal and get very hot. This will make it an oven, and the chicks that can’t fly yet will explode because they can’t stand the temperature inside. They literally cook.Glad Elena Moreno Portillo, Ecourbe Ecologist.

With the temperature rising in recent days (about 42°C in Seville and Cordoba), volunteers in both cities quickly gathered around the colonies and collected as many dehydrated and malnourished chicks as possible. Of those, more than 400 birds have been taken to a state-run restoration center for endangered species to see if they can be saved.






Swallowing the pale sickle at a veterinary hospital in France.

Illustration: Jean-Francois Noblet/Biosphoto via AFP

Moreno Portillo estimates that thousands of swallows in Andalusia – most of which swallow a pale sickle – have been forced out of their nests by the heat. In Madrid, the Prinzal Bird Center said it was dealing with a large number of swallow chicks trying to escape the heat.

Andalusian ecologists have long encountered swallows that leave their nest prematurely, but with the heat of summer still arriving earlier on the peninsula, the country’s state weather agency says summer begins 20 to 40 days earlier than it did 50 years ago. “By mid-July, many of these birds were probably able to fly, but they got caught in the heat wave and didn’t have time,” Moreno-Portio, who has more and more dead birds, said. (guardian)

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