Forestry Commission logo

Mirrors removed to protect swallows

14 May 2014

Archive news item.

Westonbirt toilet mirrors removed for swallowsThe team at Westonbirt Arboretum have had to remove mirrors from the site’s public toilets in order to stop swallow's mistaking their reflection for a rival male.

Many male birds attack reflections of themselves, thinking they are fending off an opponent.

Paul Cody, Head of Visitor Attraction at Westonbirt commented:

“We have taken the decision to remove the toilet mirrors each spring for a number of years now to prevent the resident swallows from injuring or causing unnecessary stress to themselves.”

The public toilets at Westonbirt Arboretum are home to around five swallow nests. The young chicks usually fledge within the first few weeks of July, after which the mirrors are replaced.

 

Last updated: 9th December 2016

England's Woods and Forests are cared for by Forest Enterprise England, an agency of the Forestry Commission.