Barn Swallow

Mallard

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.