Gill Sinclair's picture

Swallow chicks on the ground

If swallow chicks are on the ground inside a farm building (presumably having fallen out of the nest), can the parent birds still feed them? I thought that adult swallows were unable to land on the ground because they couldn't take off again, or is that a myth?

Also, if the chicks are on the ground inside (but with plenty of openings to the outside world), would it be impossible for them to ever get into the air even if they survived long enough to develop their flight feathers?

In short, is a swallow chick that has fallen out of the nest onto the ground (but has it's 'first' feathers) doomed?!



debbieC's picture

You have to imagine what the

You have to imagine what the chicks fell out of in the first place!, If the adults could not land!! then HOW did the eggs/chicks survive long enough to fall out? If you see what I mean.


Alan Thornhill's picture

I've always thought it's

I've always thought it's swifts that musn't land on the ground. Swallows should be OK - don't they need to, in order to collect mud for their nests from the edge of pools?

CJT's picture


Swallows and Martins do land on the ground to collect mud to build their nests and manage to get airborn again.As long as the chicks are fed and protected from predators there is a chance for them.

Gill Sinclair's picture

Thanks everyone for your

Thanks everyone for your replies. When hatching the eggs and feeding the chicks, adult swallows can obviously 'launch' themselves from a height to get into flight, and if you watch the adults 'landing' at the nest to feed the chicks, they actually just cling on to the edge of the nest at an angle for a couple of seconds and then go again, so I'd never seen one take off from the ground. I did think about the adults collecting mud, but haven't seen them doing that so wasn't sure whether they actually landed or just snatched some in their beaks as they passed, but Cazza's response clarifies this. Sadly all 5 of the chicks in question have now disappeared from the nest - I have found one dead one but the others are either well-hidden (and rather quiet) or they have been taken by a rat I think.

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

Fenwickfield's picture

sit on cables

Swallows sit in rows on electric power lines fences ect I posted Swallows that had hatched in the barns around my house and they sat on the bird table with adults and had a go at eating the strawberries on the bird table ,so myth it is.I posted this last year around October time if you need proof,sadly if they fall out the nest you must let nature take it's cause.