Thursday, June 13, 2013

Barn Swallow

Barn Swallow- Hirundo rustica

The long forked tale allows remarkable maneuverability and longer tails in the male are a sought-after feature by females during courtship. Longer tails are correlated with health. Lice infestation apparently causes a shorter tail. The longer tail has some drawbacks. This tail makes the bird more susceptible to predation and requires more energy to sustain flight.
The nest is built up layer by layer with small pellets of mud that are reinforced with straw. The bird uses the body to shape the nest and lines the inside with grass or feathers. The nest must be protected from rain that would dissolve the mud. This Barn Swallow chose a stop under the roof of the Bird Blind at Frank Lake. Barn Swallows are double brooded. 
Barn Swallows catch insects on the wing with a "brush-like" tongue that in other species is used to gather nectar. 
First year Barn Swallows leave for the migration south later in the autumn after their parents depart and arrive in their winter home without any adult guides. 


The Atlas of Breeding Birds of Alberta. Federation of Alberta Naturalists. 2007.

Baicich PJ, Harrison CJO. Nests, Eggs, and Nestlings of North American Birds. Princeton UP. 2005.

Beadle D, Rising J. Sparrows of the United States and Canada. Princeton UP. 2003.

Fisher C, Acorn J. Birds of Alberta. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton. 1998.

Sibley David A. The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior. Alfred A Knopf, Inc. New York. 2001.

Tudge Colin. The Bird. Crown Publishers. New York. 2008.

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