Barn Swallow Nesting Season Is Happening Now In Northern Utah

/, Barn Swallows, Birds, Davis County, Utah/Barn Swallow Nesting Season Is Happening Now In Northern Utah

Barn Swallow landing with nesting material, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahBarn 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, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahBarn 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, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahBarn 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, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahBarn 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, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahBarn 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, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, UtahBarn 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.

Mia

7 Comments

  1. Laura Culley May 5, 2018 at 9:09 am

    Swallows are just special. I can (and have) watch(ed) them for hours building their nests at Laguna Seca Raceway in California when I SHOULD have been paying attention to race cars/drivers. But they’re nowhere near as interesting as the swallows.
    So sorry there was bloodletting, but sometimes that’s what’s required to get where you need to get 😉

  2. Pepe Forte May 4, 2018 at 4:00 pm

    Another series of wonderful pics Mia! And that you nearly suffered death by a thousand invisible bites to get these images…makes them all the more appreciated. Thanks.

  3. Elephants Child May 4, 2018 at 2:12 pm

    Beautiful, beautiful things. Thank you so much for the blood you shed to get these marvels.

  4. Utahbooklover May 4, 2018 at 11:03 am

    Wonderful images, and thanks for your sacrifice to the no-see-ums. Wikipedia says this about prevention:

    The smaller members (1-4mm) of the family are tiny enough to pass through the apertures in typical window screens. Camping tents are often equipped with extra-fine mesh netting, called no-see-um nets, to keep the pests out. One experienced researcher recommends: “A mesh size of 4900 (per square inch) will stop most biting midges, but to ensure that even the smallest cannot feast on you, a mesh size of 10,000 is necessary.”

  5. brrrdoo May 4, 2018 at 9:27 am

    Appreciate your blood donation to obtain these lovely and informative photos. Thanks!

  6. Patty Chadwick May 4, 2018 at 8:26 am

    Love these beautiful images…we had all the ingredients they needed…a small stream and swamp(mud)’ plenty of flies(horses), horese hair, the barn itself…loved their swoopy flight. Iridescence, tiny bills, mud-daubed nests stuck to the barn walls….tiny, sleek and beautiful….

  7. Linda Lee May 4, 2018 at 7:32 am

    I love your photos of bird and animal life. They tell a story that helps me understand their lives and are not just pretty photos. My husband who is the serious photographer has started photographing birds in flight and says how hard it is. I was telling him about your site and where you go as we live in Sandy and he was wondering where he could go photograph. When he suggested Antelope Island recently I told him No Way! as he is uneducated about the gnats there! I said the window is long past for getting out there and mentioned what you go through. I have been bitten by these things while camping and they’re worse than mosquitoes as the itching last so much longer. Thank you for your your sacrifice in getting these photos. 🙂

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