Why do the swallows come back to Capistrano? While legend has it that a miracle was involved, the swallows’ flight pattern is actually the result of much more earthly concerns. The barn swallows are following their instincts to migrate, and are returning from spending the winter in warmer southern locations.
During spring migration, swallows and other species follow the Pacific Flyway, which stretches from Alaska to South America. Along this route, migratory birds search for food and shelter in a variety of habitats, including the temperate Mediterranean climate zone of southern California. According to the National Audubon Society, at least a billion birds migrate along the Pacific Flyway each year.