While on vacation in Northern Arizona last month, I was fortunate to see many Barn Swallows flying about.
Even as a child, I always loved the beautiful streamers that they had at the end at the end of their tails.
Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) are a migratory bird and are found in most areas of the United States. Before European settlers came here, Barn Swallows made their homes in caves. However, once homes went up, they decided that the eaves of a house made a better location for a home.
Their nests can also be found in other areas similar to eaves such as underneath bridges and even inside of buildings.
The coloring of the Barn Swallow is a beautiful combination of golden-orange chest, reddish-brown throat and their entire upper body consisting of blue. There is a slight difference between the Barn Swallows found in Europe (pictured above) and those that are located in the United States. Those from Europe have a white chest while those in North America have a golden-orange colored belly (below). The female have the same coloring as the male, but the colors are more muted. Their tail is deeply forked and their mature size is approximately 7″ in length. The longer a male’s tail, the more attractive he is to females.
A swallow’s nest is very distinctive and is made up of a mixture of mud and grass that forms a ‘cup’. The male selects the nesting site and then proceeds to attract a mate. The nest is built by both the male and female and is attached to buildings or other structures with an overhang. It can take more then 1,000 trips to bring enough mud and grass to make a single nest.
The male and female mate for life raise 1 – 2 broods a year and lay 4 – 6 eggs each time.
Their diet consists of insects such as beetles, mosquitoes and flies. Barn Swallows catch insects in the air. They also eat berries and seeds occasionally.
Have you ever seen a Barn Swallow’s distinctive nest? Please tell us where you saw it.