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Swallows Return to San Juan Capistrano

Swallows Return to San Juan Capistrano

Let’s learn about the amazing story of swallows at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

For the world, March 19th marks St. Joseph’s Day, but for those at Mission San Juan Capistrano in Southern California, this day also marks the miracle of the swallows.  On this day, thousands of swallows migrate 6,000 miles from Goya, Argentina to San Juan Capistrano.  This “Return of the Swallows” has been celebrated sine the early 1930s.  In honor of this “miracle,” let’s learn more about the story of the swallows.

Before the area was urbanized, Mission San Juan Capistrano was the largest structure in the community.  This is why the swallows returned year after year.  However, as the area began to develop, the nests were removed from their original location in the Ruins of the Great Stone Church.  As a result, the number of swallows returning to the Mission began to decline.

In an effort to encourage the return of the swallows, the Mission sought the help of bird expert Dr. Charles R. Brown in 2010.  Dr. Brown started a two-part experiment on Mission grounds in an attempt to encourage the birds to come back.

Phase I: Vocalization Project

In 2012, Phase I of the project was launched.  This project called for the playing of recorded swallow courtship calls through the speaker in Mission grounds.  This was done in an effort to lure the swallows that were flying overhead.

Phase II: Nest Reenactment Project

In 2015, Phase II was launched, which called for the construction of a wall of man-made nests.  The nests were arranged in a colony-like setting similar to how they were laid out in the Ruins of the Great Stone Church.

As of now, the swallows have finally stared to return to Mission San Juan Capistrano and the community sees visitors from all over the world who wish to welcome the birds back to their original nesting grounds.

Join us at  The Maria Sanchez Show as we welcome the swallows at Mission San Juan Capistrano.  Don’t forget to check out our latest program, Shadow Politics with Senator Michael D. Brown.  Tune in on Sundays at 4:00 p.m. PST/7:00 p.m. EST.

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