Will Swallows Return to San Juan Capistrano March 19?

Real Estate Agent with Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty DRE# 00901962 Lic.1985

Mission San Juan Capistrano image

American cliff swallows annually fly 6,000 miles north from Goya, Argentina to arrive at Mission San Juan Capistrano, California, on March 19, St. Joseph's Feast Day.

But since the plague years of 2020 and 2021, people wonder if the swallows will return on time. 

The cliff swallows are noted for their distinctive mud nests they build under the Mission's eaves and archways. The flocks traditionally leave in the fall on October 23, the Feast of St. John.

A 1915 article in Overland Monthly magazine noted the birds' annual habit of nesting at Mission San Juan Mission San Juan Capistrano Cliff Swallow imageCapitstrano from spring through fall. Since then, the swallows have been considered the "signature icon" and symbol of Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Mission bell ringer Acú used to regale visitors with a romantic tale that the swallows (las golondrinas) flew over the Atlantic Ocean to Jerusalem each winter, carrying small twigs on which they could rest atop the water along the way back to Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Composer Leon René was so inspired by the annual swallows return that he penned the song "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" in tribute back in 1939. The song has been recorded by such musicians as Guy LombardoGlenn Miller and Chritian singer Pat Boone

Prior to 2020, the Fiesta de las Golondrinas was held annually in the City of San Juan Capistrano. Presented by the San Mission San Juan Capistrano Swallows Day March 19 children imageJuan Capistrano Fiesta Association, the Fiesta de las Golondrinas was a week-long celebration of this auspicious event culminating in the Swallows Day Parade and Mercado (street fair). No parade nor mercado occurred in 2020, nor is one planned  yet for 2021. The 2020 event was indefinitely postponed, and has yet to be re-scheduled.

Learn about any future parade and events at www.swallowsparade.com. Past events include Ringing of the historic bells, Live mariachi music, Community presentations, Flamenco dance performances and History of St. Joseph’s Day and Swallows Legend.Mission San Juan Capistrano Native Americans image

Tradition has it that the main flock arrives on Saint Joseph's Day March 19,
 and flies south on Saint John's Day, October 23.

When the swallows come back to Capistrano
That's the day you promised to come back to me
When you whispered, "Farewell," in Capistrano
'twas the day the swallows flew out to sea

— excerpt from "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano" by Leon René.

Sadly, even prior to the plague years, decreasingly smaller flocks returned to the Mission in the 1990s Mission San Juan Capistrano Swallows imageand 2000s. The reduction in swallow flocks has been connected to increased development in the area.

Mission San Juan Capistrano was founded on November 1, 1776. It is the seventh of the nine missions established by Saint "Father" Serra. A total of twenty-one California missions were built.


Images courtesy of Mission San Juan Capistrano, Wikipedia and pubic domain.


Thanks for reading "Will Swallows Return to San Juan Capistrano March 19?"

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Aloha & God Bless You, 

Michelle Carr Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 sign image


Michelle Cherie Carr Crowe Real Estate Team

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Michelle Cherie Carr Crowe and her "Get Results Team" (established by the late legendary Silicon Valley super agent Judy Carr) are known as the "Lynbrook and Cupertino Schools Experts." Coaching clients to success is Michelle's passion, making her and her team creative catalysts for positive change in people's lives. She is a Silicon Valley-based multi-million dollar real estate consultant, author, coach and trainer who works by referral only.

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Comments (4)

James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Michelle.

I wouldn't bet against them, that's for sure.  Want to make a bet?

Mar 19, 2021 12:31 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Michelle - if memory serves me correctly(and it often doesn't unfortunately) there was an issue with diminished numbers of swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano in the years prior to 2020 on St Joseph's Day.   I can't recall the details but recall there was some press about it at the time. . .     

Mar 19, 2021 03:48 AM
Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net

I would love to see this one day.  Great information, thanks for sharing.  Make it a great one.  Bill Salvatore

Mar 19, 2021 05:42 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe .Just Call. 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

Yes hopefully the swallows will increase in numbers and continue their travels on these special saints' days.

Mar 20, 2021 05:20 PM