Barn Swallow Update

Author
tmiles
Double Chili Cheeseburger
  • Total Posts : 1984
  • Joined: 2004/10/01 15:59:00
  • Location: Millbury, MA
  • Status: offline
2007/05/02 12:42:39 (permalink)

Barn Swallow Update

I know that we have a few birders on this site. This will not be interesting to those who are thinking of fried barn swallow.

For the second year in a row, I note fewer returning barn swallows to our farm in Millbury, Massachusetts. They must have had a bad winter (or endless summer) where ever they went, or a tough return flight.

Once they are here, they lead a good life. I provide safe little nesting ledges high up in the rafters of the barn, and the livestock attract a good supply of flying bugs. They always raise a good brood, (sometimes two) and the population recovers quickly. I am told that a lot of the returning birds were born on my farm, and that they show the way here to the young born down south. Not being a birder myself, I don't know where "my" birds go in the winter, but I am always glad for their return.
Todd
#1

16 Replies Related Threads

    lostnthemail
    Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 427
    • Joined: 2006/07/23 07:53:00
    • Location: Louisville, MS
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/02 19:55:44 (permalink)
    We have barn swallows that nest on our front porch every year. They make a terrible mess, but we truly enjoy watching them from our dining room window. We have learned if we don't tear the nest down, the mud splatters are kept to a minimum since they recycle the old nest. We even had the painters avoid the nesting area and paint around it. Had a chicken snake attack the nest several years back. Had a house full of ladies for a meeting & everyone was going wild. When we noticed the snake it already had two lumps which meant he had already dined on two of our bird.

    We also have chimney sweeps & enjoy listening to them flutter. It's fun to be outside & watch them circle & dive into the chimney around sunset.
    #2
    Sundancer7
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 13499
    • Joined: 2001/07/18 14:10:00
    • Location: Knoxville, TN,
    • Status: online
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/02 20:22:51 (permalink)
    The barnswallows love my boat dock and I have had to run them off several times due to the mess they make.

    They are great flyers and they would make the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds proud as they can do everything the flying guys do except they can do it better and they do it to live. I see the constantly flying around the Tennessee River.

    They are the most colorful of the swallows

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #3
    mayor al
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 15278
    • Joined: 2002/08/20 22:32:00
    • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/02 21:24:01 (permalink)
    Good timing for another Bird Thread. Here are a pair we have had hanging around the feeders..not necessairily together, they just happened to be in the same little tree when I shot this photo this evening.

    I believe the blue one is an Indigo Bunting...but I am not positive. The other is a mystery to us. The beak is the same as a Cardinal or other seed eater.


    Here is a second view of the Brown Bird. Sorry about the sharpness or lack of it...We were shooting thru the living room window to prevent the movement from disturbing the birds about 30 feet out in the yard fromt he window.
    #4
    dickestep
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 533
    • Joined: 2007/03/11 21:49:00
    • Location: Bacliff, TX
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/02 22:43:08 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by lostnthemail

    We also have chimney sweeps & enjoy listening to them flutter. It's fun to be outside & watch them circle & dive into the chimney around sunset.

    I've had chimney sweeps here since the mid 1980s. One will sometimes fly into the house. Yep, they're fun to watch and keep the bugs down.
    #5
    Tony Bad
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 5116
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/03 09:12:03 (permalink)
    I wish I could attract some swallows, as they like bugs, and we got bugs! We have managed to attract many of the swallows night-time counterparts...brown bats. It is amazing how their role in nature and even their flying style is so similar.

    Al...not sure what your mystery bird might be...it seems to have same shape and size as bunting...could it be a female bunting?

    http://www.bbbo.org/photos/sparrows/INBU-F-ASY_eiseman_sp04.jpg

    Here is one from my backyard...



    any guesses? Not too rare, but usually well hidden.
    #6
    mayor al
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 15278
    • Joined: 2002/08/20 22:32:00
    • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/03 10:29:56 (permalink)

    I emailed my question to several of my roadfood friends..The result leaned towards a pair of Blue Grosbeaks. With that advice I was able to pin down which area to look in my bird books and Blue Grosbeaks Seem to be the answer. Pauls mention of the Blue Beak on the Grosbeak was the factor in dropping thoughts of the Indigo Bunting...which we have here often.
    #7
    Sundancer7
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 13499
    • Joined: 2001/07/18 14:10:00
    • Location: Knoxville, TN,
    • Status: online
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/03 10:45:43 (permalink)
    Tony, it could be a female indigo bunting. Your pic shows a little whiter breast but the beak, eyes and tail match.

    How did you get it to sit on your hand?

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #8
    kland01s
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 2835
    • Joined: 2003/03/14 07:01:00
    • Location: Fox River Valley, IL
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/03 10:57:07 (permalink)
    Tony, that looks like an American Bittern. It's in the heron family and is a marsh bird. I see them here in the River inlets.
    #9
    Tony Bad
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 5116
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/03 11:05:32 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by kland01s

    Tony, that looks like an American Bittern. It's in the heron family and is a marsh bird. I see them here in the River inlets.


    That is what I thought it was too. Never saw one before...especially not in my own yard!

    As for the bunting picture...that is from the net Paul...the only birds I have gotten to actually sit on my hand are some friendly chickadees!
    #10
    Sundancer7
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 13499
    • Joined: 2001/07/18 14:10:00
    • Location: Knoxville, TN,
    • Status: online
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/03 11:22:26 (permalink)
    The marsh bird is probably a bittern. Resembles a black crown night heron. I have them in a tree close to my deck and dock every day. As a matter of fact, I saw one just a few minutes ago. Sometimes I have 5-10 in a tree watching the water for lunch many times a week.

    Look at the coloring on the bill and feather coloring.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #11
    mayor al
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 15278
    • Joined: 2002/08/20 22:32:00
    • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2007/05/03 13:20:15 (permalink)

    This is a fun thread. Thanks to all for the contributions. I'll be back here when we spot another mystery flyer.
    #12
    tmiles
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1984
    • Joined: 2004/10/01 15:59:00
    • Location: Millbury, MA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2012/07/03 19:54:20 (permalink)
    It has been a few years.....
    I had an average group of barn swallows return this year and they seem to be raising 3 babies per pair. When less return they raise up to 5 or 6.  A pair of bluebirds raised 2 young in a small hole in a telephone pole  next to my corn field. Once common, (not in my lifetime) bluebirds are now very rare around here. For the first time in my life I have a flock of goldfinches. Usually they come in ones and twos.
    #13
    JRPfeff
    Filet Mignon
    • Total Posts : 2634
    • Joined: 2006/12/01 10:05:00
    • Location: Pewaukee, WI & Fuquay-Varina, NC
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2012/07/03 20:20:52 (permalink)
    I love our barn swallows.  They come out when I mow and follow me on the lawn tractor.  I stir up a nice meal for them and they entertain me while I mow.  They are incredible to watch in flight.
    #14
    mayor al
    Fire Safety Admin
    • Total Posts : 15278
    • Joined: 2002/08/20 22:32:00
    • Location: Louisville area, Southern Indiana
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2012/07/03 22:15:06 (permalink)
    For the first time in several years we have at least one, and maybe two Baltimore Orioles in the area. I think two (males, as the two I have seen are noticeably different in size.
    Photos when I can.
    AL
    #15
    baileysoriginal
    Double Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 758
    • Joined: 2007/10/17 11:54:00
    • Location: friars point, MS
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2012/07/03 23:00:53 (permalink)
    Our office building is only a few feet from the MS river and in the past 10 years I've worked there the barn swallows have  used the same nests - always on the river side of the building. 
     
    Last Friday I was watering the flower beds and a little fellow that had just left the nest was struggling to get his flight wings going - he was being encouraged to fly by his family who didn't think it was a good idea for me to be there so I got swooped and cursed by the lot of them. 
     
    After only a few moments he was flying high with the rest of his family out over the river and back home.
     
    We also have hummingbirds, which we keep feeders out - and lots of doves.
     
    #16
    FriedClamFanatic
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1673
    • Joined: 2008/07/14 19:56:00
    • Location: west chester, PA
    • Status: offline
    RE: Barn Swallow Update 2012/07/04 00:10:30 (permalink)
    I had the same thing happen with Blue Jays.  They nested outside our front door in a holly. When Flight Day came, we had some belly landings on the grass, and one only made it 8 feet to the hanging basket before giving it another try.  His next shot was across the driveway. All of a sudden other adult Jays showed up and the parents moved in to make sure Junior was ok.  Not being able to tell the good guys from the bad guys, I ran over intent to help.......Mama and Papa made themselves known as they began to dive bomb me until I ran back into the house.
     
    The luanches of the Mourning Doves and the Robins went more peaceful.....except for one Robinette that decided to take its time before leaving the good life (much to the consternation of the parents)
    #17
    Jump to:
    © 2014 APG vNext Commercial Version 5.1