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Distributed for Reaktion Books


Known as heralds of spring and beautiful, elegant flyers, swallows are among the most beloved of familiar birds. Because they return with the spring, swallows, as Angela Turner explains, have long been associated with the renewal of life, love, fidelity, and fertility, while their ability to travel incredible distances has given them associations with freedom and speed. That freedom, however, hasn’t kept them from becoming familiar figures in towns and cities. They often seem to even seek out human company—for example, barn swallows are known for nesting in our buildings and purple martins in our back yards.

Destruction of their natural habitat, however, has proved dangerous to some species of swallow, and recent years have seen some populations dwindling to the point of near-extinction. Turner outlines the reasons for these declines as part of her engaging account of the natural and cultural history of this beloved bird.

224 pages | 70 color plates, 30 halftones | 5 3/8 x 7 1/2 | © 2015


Biological Sciences: Natural History

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Swallow is the latest in the beautiful series of books by Reaktion exploring the myths and legends surrounding an animal or bird. Elegant flyers, they seem attracted to humans, building their mud nests in the eves of houses and barns. They have inspired poetry, paintings, and even tattoos—as witnessed on the arm of Johnny Depp, when playing the part of Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean.”

Scotland Outdoors

Table of Contents

1. Swallows and Martins
2. A Winter’s Tale
3. Harbinger of Spring
4. One Swallow Doesn’t Make a Summer
5. Swallow Tales
6. Unlucky Birds to Kill
Select Bibliography
Associations and Websites
Photo Acknowledgments

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