Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Swallows are Here!

 Swallows have arrived in the area and can be seen catching insects on the wing at area ponds and lakes right now. Here are some photos of our nesting swallows with a brief description of their habits:
Northern Rough-winged Swallow by Phil Fowler
 The Northern rough-winged swallow is typically the first swallow to come into the Piedmont. They are plain brown on the upperside and lighter on the under. They can be found at almost any pond during the warm months.

Tree Swallow by Lee Weber
 Tree swallows are the only swallow in our area that nests in bird boxes, readily accepting standard bluebird boxes. Look for them in open areas like pastures with a water source nearby.

Barn Swallow by Jeff Lewis
Barn swallows are perhaps the most graceful of the swallows in flight, and one of the most graceful bird species overall. Note the long forked tail, long slender wings, and slender build. I love to watch them coursing over lakes and open areas. They nest in small colonies under bridges and in barns.

Purple Martin by John Ennis
Purple martins are the most famous swallow that nests in large colonies; in gourds and martin houses erected by humans. The next species is not as well known as the martins, but cliff swallows build gourd-shaped nests under area bridges with numbers potentially reaching 100 nests in the largest colonies.
Cliff Swallow by Don Faulkner


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