Bear River National Wildlife Refuge Barn Swallow

Barn SwallowBarn Swallow – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/640, ISO 250, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

My birding friends Kathie and Chris down in Arizona have reported that they are already seeing swallows so chances are it won’t be long before I see them just one state away in Utah!

Bear River National Wildlife Refuge has five species of swallows during the warmer months, they are Tree, Northern Rough-winged, Violet-green, Cliff and Bank Swallows. The swallows are drawn to Bear River NWR because of the abundance of insects at the refuge, primarily Midges. I’ve written before about them in a post titled  Midges and Birds – Food for Thought that explains how Midges benefit the eco-system at Bear River NWR in northern Utah. That post also shows Midge Tornados that I find fascinating and images of a few birds that consume them too.

Okay, back to swallows, it wasn’t until last night that I realized I have not posted a single image of a Barn Swallow on my blog yet and I figured it was about time! I photographed this beautiful adult Barn Swallow on the auto tour loop back in May of 2010, that was a super day for me as far as photography went because I was also able to photograph some gorgeous Red Fox kits that morning too.

I expect to see the first Barn Swallows sometime around the end of March to the beginning of April, I can’t wait!

Don’t get me wrong, I love winter and the birds the cold weather brings but I am also looking forward to the birds I see in spring and summer and Swallows are amongst them.


*Because of Google’s changes it Image Search and how they have begun to hotlink to my larger images I will no longer post large versions of my files on my blog.

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. You make such a hard-to-photograph bird look so easy and beautiful, Mia! How you managed to capture the iridescence and the eye light without having it glare out I’ll never understand. Just stunning.

  2. What a beautiful bird, we have many tree swallows here, but I have yet to encounter another species. Awesome photo:)

  3. Beautiful swallow and an awesome photo! I am looking forward to seeing the swallows return.

  4. I don’t think we get the violet-green swallows here so I look forward to seeing some from you! :)

  5. You are an amazing photographer. I’ve taken wildlife snapshots for decades, all over the world. I call them snapshots because to call them anything else would be false advertising! Retired now, my camera spends most of its time pointed at my two goats, 18 chickens and 5 ducks here on the farm.

    I’ve added your wonderful site to my favorites and linked to you from one of my sites today. Looking forward to your next project!

    • Thanks so much Sparrow! You have such cute goats. I love my subjects and hope that comes through to the people that view my images. Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind words.

  6. The Barn Swallows are marvellous beings, we have them over here. Next summer, I will go out and catch them.

  7. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    A sure sign that spring is on it’s way.

  8. I spent yesterday morning trying capture a decent image of Tree Swallows chasing insects above a lake surface. Boy, do I have a lot of blurry images!
    Nice portrait of a beautiful swallow!

  9. Puerto Rico also has swallows and in San Juan which are urban, nest under bridges, and are very elusive. What I personally like about posting slightly smaller images is that they load a lot quicker and can benefit people who for some reason travel and have to use 3G (there is still 3G in many rural areas), or simply do not have higher broadband speeds. I’m posting rather big right now, but plan to reduce it a bit too.

    • Maria, I remember seeing Swallows in Puerto Rico but didn’t get the chance to photograph or ID them.

      I’m going to no larger than 800 pixels on the long side of my images. Google makes me sick.

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