When they’re not looking picturesque in Cumbernauld, Swallows spend the rest of their year swooping around the African savannah perching on zebras


How far would you travel to go to the supermarket, or to take your kids to nursery?  For some residents of Cumbernauld it might be further than you think. Over the last few days anyone walking round Cumbernauld’s woodlands with an open ear may have noticed a change in the sounds around us.  The Scottish Wildlife Trust Reserve Manager up at Forest Wood heard a Cuckoo while doing his rounds, Chiffchaffs are calling their names from every treetop and Blackcaps are thoroughly confusing me with their Blackbird like song.  Spotted Flycatchers can be seen in hot pursuit of winged insects in woodland clearings and Grasshopper Warblers make Forest Wood sound like the Mediterranean with their distinctive call.

And then there’s my favourite species of all, the Swifts.  Swifts are starting to arrive in numbers, putting on amazing aerial displays, swooping through the skies, screaming as they go like teenagers on a rollercoaster.  Swifts are amazing creatures from the time they leave the nest and first take to the wing, it’ll be three years before they touch ground again.  They eat, drink, sleep and even mate in flight.  They don’t reach breeding age until they’re three years old and even then they’ll only briefly alight on their nests tucked up high, often in the eaves of buildings.  They’re joined in their air displays by the elegant Swallows and feisty House and Sand Martins, all of them enjoying the feast of insect life that summer brings to Scotland.

It’s strange to think that last week many of these birds will have been feeding in amongst lions and elephants on African plains, yet they choose to come to Cumbernauld to find food and to raise their young.  It just goes to show that Cumbernauld is known all over the world for its amazing greenspaces!


Paul Barclay Community Networks Officer

Paul Barclay