The swallows came back to Capistrano Wednesday morning under bright blue skies that bore the promise of spring. They were far outnumbered by tourists. The birds return to the Mission of San Juan Capistrano on March 19 every year , completing a 6,000-mile migration from Argentina. The main flock, about 500 birds, flew in at 8:40 a.m. and began nesting.They were followed by another 1, 500 birds -- and 5,000 bird watchers.
As many as 30,000 to 50,000 people were expected in the city during the day, said Marty Norton, executive secretary of the chamber of commerce, to take part in a day-long fiesta celebrating the return of the birds.