Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Barn Swallows

We live in the valley which has some marshes. Part of my pasture is marsh and as a result, we get a lot of mosquitoes. I really hate mosquitoes but they love me. But luckily for me, I have some friends who help me. We have a nice big barn and lots of Barn Swallows.

We let them nest pretty much everywhere except the pathways. We have about 20 nest of so, and evenings, I will sit and see a huge swarm fly about and wreak havoc  on the mosquitoes.

I am sure that some of the swallows are repeat tenants.  They build in the same place evey year.

I think this nest is sheep poop mixed with some sheep wool. Check out the size of the nest.

Some facts about the Barn Swallow.

In North America, the barn swallow breeds from Alaska east to Newfoundland, Canada and south to California and east to northern Florida. The barn swallow is a Neotropical migrant. It leaves its breeding range in the fall and travels south to winter in Mexico, Central America and South America. It travels by day, eating as it flies. It can travel as many as 600 miles a day. Barn swallows migrate in large groups. The barn swallow also breeds in northern Europe, northeastern Asia, the Middle East and Northern Africa. European and Asian barn swallows winter in southern Asia and Indonesia and Micronesia. .

The long tail of a Barn Swallow may indicate the quality of the individual bird. Females prefer to mate with males that have the longest and most symmetrical tails.

An unmated male Barn Swallow may kill the nestlings of a nesting pair. His actions often succeed in breaking up the pair and afford him the opportunity to mate with the female.

Female Barn Swallows favor males that have a darker reddish chest color.

1 comment:

Michele said...

we also have a large group that take up house in our old barn. I am thrilled each spring when they arrive because I know the chance for snow is pretty much over !