Barn Swallow resting on a boulder
Barn Swallows have migrated back to Utah and have already begun to build their nests to rear their broods from this season. These are awesome bug catchers and I’m grateful for every mosquito they devour because then there are less of them to bite me.
Barn Swallow with a beak full of mud
Barn Swallows probably built adobe homes long before humans every did, they use mud as plaster to form their nests and the rain that fell the night before and yesterday morning created puddles that the Barn Swallows were using to get the mud they need for their nests. This Barn Swallow has a serious load of mud in its bill.
Barn Swallow lifting off with nesting material in its bill
The Barn swallows are only at the puddle briefly; basically just long enough to fill their bills, and then they lift off. I think these swallows may be nesting near the marina on Antelope Island State Park some where. Maybe they will eat some of those biting gnats!
Barn 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.