Baby swallows save old Chinese house from demolition... for now

Officials decided to let chicks fledge before tearing down structure

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 June, 2018, 3:10pm
UPDATED : Friday, 08 June, 2018, 11:05am

A rural house in eastern China has had its demolition date postponed as villagers decided to wait until some sparrow chicks nesting in the roof had learnt to fly, domestic media has reported.

The house in Songyang county in Zhejiang province was slated for demolition after the local government found it is in a location with a high risk of geological disasters, the news portal Thepaper.cn reported on Wednesday.

The residents of the house had agreed to move. But when workers started to pull down the building last week, they found four nests built on its roof, one of which contained four baby swallows and two others had unhatched eggs.

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Village official Xu Zheng posted on a picture of the chicks on his WeChat page, writing: “An old house will be demolished. Who can find a new home for them?”

Xu checked with an expert working at the county’s forestry department who vetoed his plan to move the swallows to another place.

“My friend told me the swallows will be tainted with the smell of humans while being moved to another home. Their parents will dump them because of this,” Xu told the portal.

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“If humans raise these birds, their survival rate will be quite low.”

The expert suggested they should wait for over 10 days after the swallow babies learn to fly and find food.

It is estimated that the eggs will hatch in about 15 days. Therefore, village officials decided to demolish the house a month later than planned.