SIR - If Brian Shackleton (T&A, December 5) is really concerned about the threat to the bird population, he should consider the fact that many thousands of swallows are slaughtered every year as they cross from Europe to Africa and back during their migration over Malta.

It is no wonder that this year we have had the blue tongue virus in Britain. This is caused by midges that are normally the main food source of the swallow.

The RSPB has been campaigning for some time now to have this practice banned and has lobbied members to write to their MPs.

I have noticed this year that the number in my area have been reduced severely when the autumn migration took place.

Who knows how much damage has been caused already in the spread of diseases?

Diseases like malaria could increase as swallows also take many mosquitoes from the air to feed their young and refuel for their long flight home.

So Brian, please write to your MP and complain. The threat to songbirds from birds of prey is negligible compared to the threat from humans.

Colin Stubbs, Moor Lane, Birkenshaw, Bradford