You open the curtains and look at the sky: scattered clouds, a pale sun. You’ve planned a daytrip from Amsterdam today. Will you need to bring rain clothes or sunhat? If you want to be sure, forget about the weather apps, go into the Dutch countryside and look for a swallow.
The swallow and Dutch weather
The swallow is the star in quite a few sayings about the weather. Sayings that were used by farmers and countrymen centuries ago and still make sense today. You can use weatherapps, but to get the most accurate summer weather prediction head out to villages, open grassland, and farmland. The swallow with its rusty red chin and white belly loves being in the Dutch rural areas. It makes its nest of mud and straw in barns and other smaller buildings near farms in the Dutch countryside. It is the only bird that always catches its food in midair. Scarce are the moments you find them sitting on a branch. You could base a summer weather prediction on how high or low the swallow flies.
Swallow’s summer weather prediction in rural Holland
What you can’t see in summer is that when it’s warm, millions of insects are carried in warm air streams high into the sky. Swallows are insectivores and follow the insects. When you see the bird in rural Holland making its gracious movements and sweeping up insects high in the sky you know the air is warm and dry. When the air is cold and wet, the insects stay closer to the ground. That’s where you’ll find the swallows as well. Now check for yourself and create a weather forecast for the Netherlands with one of these two weather sayings:
- when swallows fly high, the weather will stay dry.
- swallows low, wet wind will blow
Info that’s easy to swallow
Did you know swallows eat mosquitos? Maybe a good idea to stay close to a swallow this summer!
Did you see a swift, house martin or swallow? Here‘s how you can spot the difference.
In this article I mainly talked about the barn swallow – boerenzwaluw in Dutch- They arrive in the Netherlands in spring and leave early fall.
Remember: Always take weather folklore with a pinch of salt. One swallow doesn’t make summer or spring. When a swallow long stays , it’s not yet time for winter days.
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