Barn Swallow landing with nesting material – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Barn Swallows have migrated back to northern Utah and nesting season is happening now in earnest. After some rain on Antelope Island puddles form in ruts in dirt roads or bison wallows and the swallows use the mud in those puddles to create pellets that they use to form their nests.
Barn Swallow with a beak full of nesting materials – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
Barn Swallows are like tiny, feathered brick masons. One pellet by itself is nothing but combined pellets form the nests these birds use to raise their young in. Sometimes they carry bits of grasses, straw or animal fur to the puddle to mix with the mud to form the pellets. One nest may have from 750 to 1,400 pellets. That is a lot of pellets.
Barn Swallow up close – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light
I took these photos yesterday on Antelope Island State Park and donated blood while I was out there. No, the Red Cross wasn’t there. I donated blood to those nasty biting gnats (no-see-ums) to get these photos. The gnats are really bad right now and even though I wore netting over my hair those buggers still got to my scalp. They even bit me inside my ears.
But getting these photos was worth it. I think.
Barn Swallow landing at a puddle – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light
Barn Swallows lay 4 to 7 eggs which take 13 to 17 days to hatch and both parents incubate. Barn Swallows can have more than one clutch per year and there are times that the young from the first brood help out the adults by feeding the second brood.
This Barn Swallow had just landed at the puddle yesterday when I photographed it…
Barn Swallow with a mud filled beak – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light
And then the cobalt blue bird filled its beak with mud before flying off.
Barn Swallow with its wings up – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light
This Barn Swallow had just landed when I took this photo at the puddle.
I hope I can find a puddle and Barn Swallows someplace where there aren’t any biting gnats. I think I’d enjoy not being eaten alive while photographing these beautiful, industrious, bug-eating birds.
Life is good.