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The Wildlife of Wonderful West Virginia: Swallows

These photos by Cynthia Staley feature some of the most beautiful creatures the Mountain State has to offer.

The Swallows

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Swallows

Many Europeans immigrants brought their beliefs about swallows with them to the New World.  There is as much of a swallow population in the United States as there was from their homes. Swallows are usually a symbol of Spring, hope, renewal, and the fresh start which most of those who migrated to the New World were seeking. It was a comfort to see something familiar in a foreign land. Barn swallows and tree swallows are a common species between the 2 continents. In addition to being an indication of the season, these little migratory fellows are also connected to weather events. If they are flying low, they’re predicting rain. If they are high, good weather is sticking around. This belief is at least rooted in science. It has everything to do with the insects that they hunt and where they are flying. Many flying insects fly low before a rain. Then there are superstitions of romance, love, and marriage - concepts that also are associated with Spring. The German believed that if a man sees a swallow, he should stop and check for hair under his shoe, the color of the hair is the hair color of their love.  And in Belgium, if a girl sees a swallow skimming just over the water, she will marry before she is 19. But they are not all good luck. If a swallows lives in or around your home, it will protect your home, but if it leaves and does not return, the house will burn down. If there is discord in a house, the swallows will abandon their home; however, if all of the swallows leave an area, it is a sign of something on a much larger scale is on the way.