Barn Swallows

Swallows feeding on the wing are a joy to watch. Fast, agile flyers, they zip through the air with speed and grace in a rhythmic, non-stop manner. Flying insects are the prey of choice and, with their streamlined bodies and wide, over-sized mouths, swallows are well-suited to the task at hand. We are blessed with several species in this region, two that are common and familiar to most nature enthusiasts: Tree Swallows and Barn Swallows.

Barn Swallows, whose nest sites were once limited to cave habitats, now rely almost entirely on human structures. Active farms are ideal locations because they generally provide all of the key habitat elements: structures, open feeding habitats, and a source of mud for nest-building,

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Adult Barn Swallow in a horse barn, with young nearby in a mud nest attached to a rafter; first brood, late June-early July

A nature trail winding along through the transitional zone between wetlands and active farmland can be full of surprises. One of yesterday’s surprises was the discovery of a family of Barn Swallows. The nest site was an inactive barn about 100 meters away and, given the date, this is probably the second brood.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

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5 thoughts on “Barn Swallows

  1. Fantastic action shots of one of my favorite birds. We had them building their nest in a carport when we lived in Utah. Hubby found a young ‘un on the ground and gently put it back in the nest. When they started building their nest above the picnic table on the patio, I tried to encourage them to move by knocking down the nest. Things progressed to where they would dive bomb me (and ONLY me) whenever I was out in the yard. I was tempted to wear hubby’s hard hat. 😀 They can get quite persnickety.

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