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Barn Swallows

Each spring Barn Swallows return to the nature center.  They are quite busy -  flying here and there, eating bugs and building their nests.

It’s easy to spot them, because they are fast graceful fliers often speeding past you and zooming low to the ground or water, snatching up insects as they go by.  Another good field mark to help you spot them is their deep forked tail and long pointed wings.

Upon their return to the Nature Center, they began a search for the right nest site.   Both the male and female swallows look at a few different spots to build their nest.  When they find the right one, they begin to construct a small semicircular mud cup nest.

The Nature Centers Barn Swallows have been seen gathering mud with their mouths from the creek’s edge and bringing it back to their nest site. Once the nest is complete, it is time to raise a family! Barn Swallows may raise more than one set of babies during the summer months. They are adaptable birds and have accepted man-made structures to build nests. Their favorite places can be under eaves, on rafters or cross beams.  Bridges and culverts are other good choices.

Next time you visit Knoch Knolls watch for them as they cruise over both the land and the water. If you find them on the deck their position will look odd since they are leaning sideways! Their short legs and feet are better adapted for grasping a branch than standing on the deck. And if you see bird poop on the ground, look up. Birds have an ingenous way of keeping their nests clean when they are raising their perpetually hungry young. Baby bird poop, which like all bird poop is runny, is contained in a sac-like structure which the parents grab in their beaks and drop over the side of the nest. So you may see splats of bird poop on the ground right under the nest.

To learn more about Barn Swallows, visit https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Barn_Swallow/id