Monday, July 25, 2005


The location of the Barn Swallow nests was a mystery this summer. The old nests were still there, but empty. (Had the European Starling cursed the building by hanging himself there?)

They visited regularly in the spring, to swoop down and carry off small chicken feathers for their nest building at an undisclosed site.

Suddenly this week, we have fledglings! There are about thirty of them, sitting on the wires or splashing down onto the pond to bathe in mid-flight. So cute!

Barn swallow (Hirundo rustica): the most wide-spread swallow, from Canada to South America, as well as Europe, Asia, and north Africa.

The juveniles have shorter tails than the adults, and are paler.

In other baby news, Shannon finally gave birth! So maybe she's through throwing up for a while.


Interesting info on Barn Swallows, from someone who makes artificial nests for them.

More interesting stuff about other birds' nesting activity, from the same site.

Some great Barn Swallow photos.


John B. said...

Nice pictures. I have been seeing fledgling barn swallows on my walks recently. It's remarkable how they have not learned fear of humans yet, so they will let one walk right up to them. They are such cute little birds, too.

Anonymous said...

I've read that barn swallows are among the elite few critters who have benefited from human encroachment. The barns, silos, and other rural outbuildings we create (and bridges over woody streams) have actually increased their habitat.

robin andrea said...

Great shots of those young swallows on the wire. They are such pretty little birds. Hard to catch them being still though.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! Love your site...I found you through your comment on (via Blue Ridge Blog)
My family is from Alabama too, so I love reading your posts. I'll be back to read more.
Leila (gnumoon)

Rurality said...

Thanks John. I noticed that they'll stay put a lot longer if I don't turn my head towards them! Love your little Cerulean!

Pablo, yeah but I think it's partly because we destroyed a lot of their original nesting habitat... It's definitely unusual that the bird could adapt so well.

RD it's funny, for birds that never seem to slow down, when they do decide to sit down they do stay for a while sometimes.

Thanks Leila! I was really glad to learn about the Bryozoans from your site. Never would have realized that they were animals instead of plants.

Charles said...

Love that out of focus background. lovely.

Anonymous said...

Delightful photos! You must have considerable open space.

Rurality said...

Thanks Charles & Wayne.

It seems like an exceptional amount of open space when it comes to mowing!

dharma bum said...

Great post and pictures!

I think barn swallows are just gorgeous and so fun to watch. I spent a day trout fishing earlier this spring and it was lots of fun because the bugs were hatching in such quantities that the barn swallows kept me good company all day. I can't decide if I like their rust colored bellies or that navy blue of their back more. I tried taking a few pictures while they were skimming over the surface of the water, but of course they just came out as barely-visible blue streaks.

That was a really interesting piece that you linked to. I liked what the writer had to say about how farmers have always gotten along well with the barn swallows, but of course, in the name of "progress," the old symbiotic relationship is fading as we use more insecticides and start sealing up barns... That weird modern fetish of sterility.

I've been enjoying your blog for a while. Thanks again!

Rurality said...

Thanks Dharma Bum. Hmm there seem to be several Dharma Bums hanging around here LOL.

I love the blue on their backs the best I think. We're always checking out particular field marks (between the eyes and on the rear end) to make sure they're not Cliff Swallows. (So far no luck on finding the Cliffs here.)

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Rurality said...

Somebody named George really wants to attach spam to this post for some odd reason. No, no, bad George.