Bird’s migration like scene from Hitchcock

House martins
House martins

Like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s terrifying film, all of a sudden, I was surrounded by thousands of ‘Birds’.

Like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock’s terrifying film, all of a sudden, I was surrounded by thousands of ‘Birds’.

Weaving, diving, all the time calling.

I had never seen so many, wait for it, house martins in such numbers.

They call flocks of house martins, circlages, flights, gulps, richnesses and swoops but this was an explosion. Of course it is now the beginning of autumn when the hirundines, the martins and swallows, are gathering for their migrations to Africa.

The martins are those with shorter tails and a white patch on their rump, just in front of the tail. I just wondered, in amongst the anonymous horde, were there any of the orphans we had successfully reared towards the end of summer.

In our nursery when all the blackbirds, starlings and other garden birds have finished we get an influx of house martins just before the pigeon orphans start.

Most are found when the simple mud nests, that their adults build under eaves, dry out and fall to the ground. It is possible to put up a temporary home, half a plastic flowerpot, holding both the nest material and the babies.

Mum and Dad will continue feeding their young until they are ready to leave and join the explosions preparing to make their epic flights of migration.

Not quite as synchronised as a murmuration of starlings, it is still amazing to watch them hawking for insects before forming serried ranks along the telephone wires until at an invisible signal they are all, clamouring, airborne again.

Then all of a sudden they are gone. They seem to melt away to the next stage of their journey.

Bon voyage.

Back in our nursery all the small birds have been released. Thankfully there are no martins or swallows that have missed the hypothetical boat. All is peace again apart from the insistent demands of the baby pigeons.