16 AUGUST 1930, Page 20


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.]

Sin,—I do not know if I am right in believing that this summer there has been an unusual scarcity of swallows or swifts over the country generally ; but in this neighbourhood (North Wirral, Cheshire) I have seen very few, and in a recent motor tour to and from the south-west of England they seemed to be very sparsely scattered. As a rule only a half-dozen or so were to be seen at a time, and then only here and there. The only exception was that in passing through certain parts of mid-Wales they seemed more plentiful.

It may be that I am mistaken as to the general decrease in their numbers, but I have seen or heard it stated that the Italians, who I understand have killed off most of their native small birds, have taken to snaring the swallows when resting on their shores, in their passage to and from Northern Europe.

If this be the case, could not some representations be made to Signor Mussolini in the interests both of the swallows and of the countries that benefit by their yearly visit, to induce him, as his word seems to be law, to put a stop to such a barbarous practice by his countrymen ?—I am, Sir, &c.,

J. W. A.