Not really! I saw the first swallow of the year yesterday as I was trundling along a country lane behind a herd of cows. I wonder how many more I’ll see. Agriculture in this area isn’t quite as industrial as elsewhere, but there are still many large fields that contain nothing of interest to insects or, if they are, are treated with insecticide.
No insects: no insect-eating birds. In a couple of days in rural Co.Galway last summer I saw more swallows than during the whole summer here in Dorset.
Birds do exact a toll on bees though but, unless it is a woodpecker drilling through a hive (and they seem to be increasing) or a queen bee on a mating flight being snapped up, the losses are normally tolerable. I was quite saddened once when, having set a mouse trap at a hive entrance to dispose of a suspected intruder, I found a Blue Tit there instead. They tap at the entrance and snap up any guard bee sent to investigate. So they’re Bad Birds! But they’re pretty and so usually get away with it.