Bank Swallow Over the Red Rock River

/, Beaverhead County, Birds, Centennial Valley, Montana/Bank Swallow Over the Red Rock River

Perched Bank SwallowPerched Bank Swallow – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light

While exploring the Centennial Valley of Montana I love to stop on Stibal Lane where the Red Rock River flows under the bridge and look at the amazing views and I also look around to see what birds there are because I never know what I might find there.

While I looked around four days ago I saw this Bank Swallow resting on a fence that hangs over the Red Rock River and could not resist photographing it with the blue water below and behind it. The early morning light seemed to make the dainty swallow glow. I haven’t had many opportunities to photograph this species because they are usually feeding high above me so it was nice to find one resting for a change.

Bank Swallows are the smallest swallows found in North America, they are also found in Europe and Asia where they are called Sand Martins. They feed on flying insects including bees, wasps, moths and butterflies. They might be considered plain brown birds by some by I love the soft, warm tones of their plumage and their delicate beauty.

The Bank Swallow I photographed wasn’t calling but I have heard their calls before while they have flown past while hunting for prey in the air. They nest in vertical banks and bluffs with loose soils in burrows about 25 inches into the ground near water.

Life is good. Birds are great.



  1. Elephants Child July 18, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Anyone who dismisses the little brown jobs doesn’t have their eyes or heart open.

  2. Patty Chadwick July 18, 2017 at 10:01 am

    Nothing swoops and zooms like a swallow…these birds so cute! This little cuties looks like it’s perched right in a barb of Devil’s wire…

  3. April Olson July 18, 2017 at 9:59 am

    I still think swallows have some type of echolocation. I know they have a unique eye development specifically for catching flying insects, but just watching them and listening I have a hard time with all that vocalization being simply chatter. I have looked in the past for articles on swallows and echolocation but have found little documentation. Have you run across any?

  4. Laura Culley July 18, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Oh how I love swallows. I’ll sit and watch them for hours. They’re just beautiful little jewels of Nature and fascinating. How amazing that they make their living catching their prey on the fly! If we had to do that…well, you know.
    Birds (raptors/critters) are GREAT! What outrageous blessings they are to our mundane lives 🙂

  5. July 18, 2017 at 6:03 am

    Love the point of light in the eye. Surveyor of the realm airy realm! Thanks for sharing.

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