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Barn Swallow Nests.

July 11, 2011

Barn Swallow


You may remember about a month ago ago that I happened upon a Barn Swallow nest in a Metro Park shelter house .  I thought I’d go back and see how things were going there, so at the end of June I returned.

Sure enough- both parents were sitting on the wires where I first saw the mother.  They seemed to take my visit calmly enough.

And in the nest made of mud and grass where the mother had roosted 2 weeks before, keeping her eggs warm, two little faces looked out.  All was well!

There were other Barn Swallow nests at various places in the shelter house.  This was quite a popular place to raise a family.  It seems that there is a barn shortage in the area, and this shelter house was making up for the fact.  Actually, these birds, the most abundant swallow species in the world, nearly always nest on human structures.  Their numbers have increased along with humanity.

This mother was still roosting on her eggs.

Another nest was built upon a light fixture on the external wall- it was full of little ones waiting patiently for a parent to return with food.  They ducked down when they saw me.

Over on the other side of the building, I saw an adult attempt to catch a falling feather.  Feathers seem to be popular nest liners.

On the roof, this handsome female swallow was practically posing for a picture- females have paler breasts, while males have rusty ones.  These birds were all quite tolerant of me.

This nest under the eaves of the roof held juveniles that looked old enough to leave the nest soon.

The nestlings studied me as much as I studied them.

A couple of the nestlings would move around in the nest quite a bit.  It was a little crowded, but everyone seemed to be getting along.

Here’s some food for the growing birds.  I stayed at a respectful distance so as not to keep the parents away.

In the middle of all of this photographic frenzy, a female Mallard came waddling towards the shelter house.

She seemed to be looking for something.  I’m guessing that she was looking for her ducklings- later on, while walking along the nearby wetland area, I flushed a mother Mallard and several ducklings out from beneath the boardwalk.

Back to the swallows in their nest.

I’m not sure if that’s a begging reflex or a yawn!

Here’s mother, who would occasionally land on the ground not very far away as I took some pictures.

Keep those feathers in good trim for the upcoming adventure of flight.  It shouldn’t be long now.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. July 11, 2011 11:22 pm

    What a wonderful series of photos! The little ones are so cute!

  2. July 12, 2011 7:21 am

    Your baby birdies are so cute. Your photos are wonderful. That’s a lovely mallard too. 🙂

  3. July 12, 2011 9:18 am

    As usual, great pictures and comments…your comments about swallows and being tolerant, almost depending on humans…and then your mallard picture…reminded me of the time I went up to a friends door…rang the doorbell..once then twice…they answered…and then I looked down and to my right…and in the planter right next to the door…was a mallard female sitting on her eggs…I could have reached down and petted her…she just ignored me…and the friend said the mallard comes back every year…and they watch for the little ones to come…talk about “tolerating” humans…

    Great site…always enjoy when I come and “feast”…

  4. July 12, 2011 4:05 pm

    Awwwww, these are spectacular shots! What a treat to be able to see what you saw in person. Lucky duck!

  5. July 13, 2011 2:37 pm

    Love your blog! Hope you don’t mind that I have linked to it from mine.

  6. July 13, 2011 4:51 pm

    Thanks for the comments everyone! 🙂

    Jim, a mallard in a planter by a front door- that’s hilarious! I’ve seen mallards walking around houses and such, so I guess it happens more often that we’d think.

    quietsolopursuits, thank you! I’ll return the favor soon! Everyone check out for nature adventures!

  7. July 14, 2011 5:31 pm

    What excellent pictures. You must be very patient.

  8. July 14, 2011 5:41 pm

    As abundant as they are, I don’t think I’ve seen barn swallows. They are beautiful little birds, judging from your excellent pictures. Maybe I need to be more observant. We are overrun here with Canada geese and sea gulls.

  9. July 14, 2011 8:28 pm

    Beautiful pictures of the bird community. I almost looked like an apartment complex but only birds. I love how you captured the various stages of growth. They look so gentle, graceful and nurturing. It must had been a busy nesting area. I remember when I was a child and I get so excited when I find a nest with eggs or baby birds. It’s a similar feeling looking at those pics. Thanks for the visit.

  10. July 15, 2011 10:55 am

    How do you not LOVE their little faces?!?

  11. July 22, 2011 11:26 am

    Wonderful photos. I especially loved the one with the bird’s mouth wide open, while the others looked on. You really have to be quick to get good pics like that. Thanks for sharing them, I hadn’t realized how pretty barn swallows are.


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