Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Man-Made Good Thing!

Cliff Swallow Range Map
 
 
 
  Well sometimes with all the bad things the hand of man does every now and then something good comes along....of course its usually totally by accident!-LoL but here it is! 
This Map shows the range(in grey) of the cliff swallow through 2003.  Note that my state SC is almost completely white--I live in the central part of the state and look what I found last last week!
 
  YES these are Cliff Swallow nests from last year!  SO that means they were nesting here last year and will probably return...they have successfully pushed their range Eastward using the thousands of concrete overpasses as colony nest sights and that's good news for us as they keep the mosquito populations down!..SO come late March I want to visit this bridge over the Wateree River again!  The Swallows return to Capistrano (San Juan Capistrano, California) March 19th and leave in Oct...but some literature says they begin to leave in late August...You can see some of the nests have fallen, probably due to vibration of the heavy traffic over this bridge--I'M so psyched about this!!  There is a boat launch ramp right beside this bridge and parking is under the bridge... I hope none of the fishermen will even notice the swallows. The birds and their nests (while in use) are protected by law--!

the gourd shaped mud nest of the cliff swallow is made up of about 1,000 dabs of mud, then lined with soft down and grasses.
The next photo was taken on Old Route 66 as it runs through the state of Oklahoma this past spring when I was traveling--I love to pull under overpasses to look for swallows and sometimes bats! This time I was rewarded to find this colony of cliff swallows doing very well!
Here you can see the mud nests and an adult at the entrance they were feeding young, but the young are so smart and with all the warnings of the parents that Danger was about (that danger being me and my camera) they kept way to the back of the entrance--I did see a few heads pop out but not when I had the camera up and ready!

adult Cliff Swallow- it takes 44-50 days from nest building to fledging the young-
barn swallow nest
It's easy to tell a cliff swallow nest from a barn swallow--the barn swallow (left) will also attach a nest to the underside of eaves, bridges etc, but the top is Open--not enclosed like the cliff swallow. Also the barn swallow nest will have bits of vegetation mixed in with the mud--Swallows winter in South America -and now it appears to me their breeding range is all the way East!! 





So now we have all these man-made "cliffs" and the swallows are following them eastward! I think that's pretty cool! 

8 comments:

  1. I think they are great, but oh how my mother used to hate the mud homes under her eaves.

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  2. They are gorgeous!
    In Hungary we just have the normal Barn swallows in the hood, but I love them!

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  3. That's great news. I hope you manage to catch up with them on their return.
    Amazing how they build their nests from all those mud pellets; so much work.

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  4. I agree, that sounds cool! I don't like much those concrete monsters but this piece of news definitely moderates my negative feelings... :-)

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  5. Great pictures! I've seen the nests, but never the birds in the nests. Wonderful that they are expanding their territory.

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  6. I can't say I'm thrilled with the swallows as they nest at airports and mess all over planes. But it was good to learn the difference between cliff and barn. I'll send them all your way!

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  7. Yes, I have to admit, I wasn't too crazy either about dozens of them plus broods inches above the bedroom window :
    We moved house since :-)
    You've got to admire their tenacity though.

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