Beautiful Barn Swallows

Barn Swallow with mud and twig

 In my last post I mentioned a few of the birds that breed and live on Presque Isle for the summer, among them is the beautiful Barn Swallow.  Dazzling irridescent blue above with muted peachy pink underparts and a deeply forked tail,   the barn swallow is perhaps the most distinctive of the swallows. It is also the most wide spread of the swallow species with poulations in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.  It’s likely that the moniker is derived from the fact that it builds its nest on or within barns or other man-made structures.  Since there are no barns at Presque Isle, the barn swallows that I have photographed and share here have set up housekeeping at the Beach 10 concession stand! One of the most popular spots for a nest is on the light fixture on the beach side of the stand.  I can’t recall a summer when I didn’t see a nest in this spot.

How annoying would that light going off and on be?!

 Because these birds build nests in such a busy area with people coming in and out all the time, they have become very tolerant of people.  Their nests are literally feet away from people coming in and out of the concession stand.  They’ve also taken to building nests within the shower rooms and bathroom stalls! 

Male Barney still handsome despite his muddy beak:)

 Both the male and female barn swallow participate in the building of the nest.  Below is a probable  female barn swallow with a leaf vein she will dip into the mud to make her own “plaster”.  Although often difficult to tell apart, male barn swallows are generally more colorful than the females possessing a deeper blue above and slightly darker peach below.

Barn swallow with leaf vein which she'll dip into the mud to create her own "plaster".

I was hoping to go to Presque Isle today to get you a picture of the babies on the nests (if they haven’t already fledged) but because of the rain I didn’t head down.  Not to worry however, barn swallows have two broods per breeding season and, unlike a lot of bird species, they often use the same nest for both broods. 

So, if you stop in for a bite to eat or a beverarge at the Beach 10 concession stand, stop and take a peek at the beautiful barn swallows!  If they aren’t on nests you’ll often see them perched on the power/phone lines on the south side of the stand or flying around catching bugs and sometimes just showing off:)





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