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These graceful flyers (Barn Swallows and Cliff Swallows) return each Summer to their natal home at Fourpeaks to raise a new brood. Their arial feeding on small insects help keep our place mosquito-free. CLICK & GO.(On this page.) Adirondack Newsletter No. 8 A Barn Swallow Story. The Swallow Family. Barn Swallow. (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) Cliff Swallow. (Hirundo pyrrhonota) Range of Species. Audubon: The Barn Swallow. Audubon: The Cliff Swallow. Finding Barn Swallow and Cliff Swallows. Sources: Learning About Barn Swallows and Cliff Swallows on the Internet. More pages in A Personal Potpourri. (on the next page). Feeding Birds in Winter: Our Black-capped Chickadee.
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"A Barn Swallow Story" Adirondack Newsletter #8
Subject: "A Barn Swallow Story." Adirondack Newsletter #8
Date: Wed, 19 Sep 2001 06:48:52
From: < VisitUs@4peaks.com >
To: < firstname.lastname@example.org >
To: Fourpeaks Visitors
At: < email@example.com >
TO OUR FELLOW NEWYORKERS: We are deeply saddened by
the recent horrific events that happened in our home
town. Just back from a family visit there we
experienced firsthand the difficulty of "getting
back to normal." We hope this newsletter brings you
a sense of the restorative potential in the natural
world around us.
Dear Fourpeaks Visitor,
Our most welcome Summer visitors return in June to the very same
place by the Stone House back door. Busy weeks on end with mud
and straw, they fix up and add on to their nest from last year.
After a while we get used to the startling protective display
whenever we go outside or return home. Their small dark bodies
move with amazing speed from up between the rafters where they
live, down under the low porch overhang, out into the open air,
screeching noisily at us, and then dart right back again into the
small nest opening without pause or hesitation.
bench and the gas grill as well. Good neigbors, we give up using
that for all the smoke it makes. Now it's a useless mess but we
Some time in mid-July we sense the change. Frequent feeding trips
and more alarming protective displays. The chicks have hatched.
After a while we hear faint peeps. Later small beaks peer out the
nest opening way up above our heads.
Whenever human guests show up at our back door we point with
pride to our aerial families, the hardworking couples, their
sizeable broods and well constructed homes. The well designed
gourd-shaped nest with the protected opening is built by the
cliff swallow. The bowl-shaped open nest over in the Woodshed and
at New Camp is their close cousin the barn swallow. We joke they
are both paying guests, or at least work for their keep. In flight
they comb the air for small insects, dining on the fly. Our place
high cliffs are their original habitat. When, years ago, they
first adapt to human dwellings, large airy barns with high
protected beams are their favorite nesting places. Open shelters
like our Stone House back porch, the nearby woodshed and the eaves
and porches at several of our backcountry camps, all make good
seasonal breeding homes for these industrious little birds.
We see them August evenings from our garden dinner table make high
swooping arcs overhead. We admire the speed, grace, and repeated
intricate patterns of flight. These end not on some limb or bush
as with other birds, but always back at the nest, their high
trapeze. There they feed their young and then they're off again.
One day this show has an expected added attraction. Five or six
wobbly smaller specks join the two graceful flyers we've been
watching all along. At first the newcomers are airborne for just a
few minutes. Later though slower and easily identified by their
immature flight, the fledgling birds are out for longer periods,
feeding on their own. Our swallows fly en famille. For weeks the
evening air is filled with their purposeful acrobatics.
Now Summer is over for us. The nests are empty. Getting ready for
the next season here in the Northcountry, we miss them and wish
them well wherever they are. (There are photos and more about our
swallows at http://4peaks.com/ppswallo.htm )
to http://4peaks.com/fgift.htm to learn about reduced rates for
returning guests. Come see us again. If you've never been--find
our new Availability Chart at http://4peaks.com/femail0.htm and
make some time for us. There's a lovely quiet season coming up.
Till then please visit us On-Line:
http://4peaks.com/ "Explore our 700-acre private rest and play-ground."
http://4peaks.com/fcamp.htm Pretty Camps in a Hidden Valley.
http://4peaks.com/fotrails.htm Walks with views & Beauty spots.
http://4peaks.com/fgstbndx.htm Photo Guest Book--What they said.
Your Adirondack Hosts,
Martin Schwalbaum/Louise Merriam
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Member Whiteface Mountain Visitors Bureau
Member Lake Placid/Essex County Visitors Bureau
This is #8 of a really occasional newsletter, "Hints of
Balsam and Pine from our Corner of the Adirondacks," for
Fourpeaks guests or anyone who ever inquired about a
Fourpeaks Vacation/Getaway. To get off this list reply with
"REMOVE" in the subject heading.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) When I think of the Barn Swallow, I think of sheer grace and beauty. The Barn Swallow is probably the best known and studied species of swallow in the world. Its races enjoy nearly global distribution. Simply known as "the Swallow" in the Old World, the Barn Swallow is probably the swiftest and most graceful member of its well known family. This is the bird with the deeply forked "swallow-tail" that you see skimming low in the summer in search of its insect prey or perched on a power line over a culvert. The nest is an open cup of mud pellets and grasses lined with white feathers placed in a protected spot under a bridge, porch, or outbuilding of some type. Barn Swallows usually nest as single pairs or in small colonies where suitable nesting sites are available. The oldest banded Barn Swallow known was over 16 years old when it was found dead in Europe. The North American race is colored differently than the European race. Our North American Barn Swallows, a subspecies of the nominate race, have a buffy-orange coloring underneath with males being darker than females and the European birds (Hirundo rustica rustica) are nearly pure white underneath. They also have a broad, steel-blue neck band whereas the North American birds have a broken or washed-out neck band. The Barn Swallow has been known to hybridize with the Cave Swallow (Hirundo fulva) in North America and the House Martin (Delichon urbica) in Eurasia. [ From The Swallow Family webpage. ]
CLIFF SWALLOW (Hirundo pyrrhonota) The Cliff Swallow is the famous bird of the Mission San Juan de Capistrano in California. Legend has it that the swallows return at exactly the same time each year on March 19 but this isnít always the case. As Cliff Swallows begin to nest more on man-made structures such as concrete dams, bridges and culverts their numbers have been steadily declining at the mission. Cliff Swallows are plump looking swallows that have square tails and broader, less pointed wings than other similar sized swallows. They tend to soar in high, circling flight much like Purple Martins. They have a buffy rump patch and white, crescent shaped forehead markings. Cliffies, as they are sometimes referred to, are the most colonial species of swallow and their colonies can sometimes number several thousands of individuals. Cliff Swallows travel in large flocks throughout the year. Their nest is a gourd-shaped structure built of mud pellets and is accessed through a narrow neck built on the side or top of the structure. The nest is lined with grasses and feathers. Cliff Swallows typically alternate nesting sites each year due to the buildup of parasites in the nests. Colonies of 4,000 nests are not unheard of. [ From The Swallow Family webpage. ]
RANGE OF SPECIES Barn Swallows have the broadest range of any swallow species. In addition to North America, they are found throughout Europe and Asia and south to Burma, Israel, and Northern Africa. North American Barn Swallows breed from Alaska across Canada, throughout the United States, and south through central Mexico. With the proliferation of human-provided nesting sites, the North American Barn Swallow population has increased in most places during the 20th century. Numbers are especially up in the central and eastern United States. The species has also expanded its range southward in the Gulf States, first breeding on the Florida coast in 1946. Barn Swallows abandon their breeding range in the fall and migrate south through Mexico, Central America, and the West Indies to their wintering range in South America. A few may irregularly winter as far north as southern Florida and the southwestern United States. Returning Barn Swallows show strong fidelity to their natal site, most nesting within 20 miles of their birthplace and some much closer. Members of a pair typically stay together to raise a second brood and return in successive years to the same nest site. [ From Cornell University: Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) webpage. ]
AUDUBON: BARN SWALLOW (from Birds of America, 1840) The Barn Swallow makes its first appearance at New Orleans from the middle of February to the first of March. They do not arrive in flocks, but apparently in pairs, or a few together, and immediately resort to the places where they have bred before, or where they have been reared. Their progress over the Union depends much on the state of the weather; and I have observed a difference of a whole month, owing to the varying temperature, in their arrival at different places. Thus in Kentucky, Virginia, or Pennsylvania, they now and then do not arrive until the middle of April or the beginning of May. In milder seasons they reach Massachusetts and the eastern parts of Maine by the 10th of the latter month, when you may rest assured that they are distributed over all the intermediate districts. So hardy does this species seem to be, that I observed it near Eastport in Maine, on the 7th May, 1833, in company with the Republican or Cliff Swallow, pursuing its different avocations, while masses of ice hung from every cliff, and the weather felt cold to me. I saw them in the Gut of Cansso on the 10th of June, and on the Magdeleine Islands on the 13th of the same month. They were occupied in building their nests in the open cupola of a church. Not one, however, was observed in Labrador, although many Sand Martins were seen there. On our return, I found at Newfoundland some of the present species, and of the Cliff Swallow, all of which were migrating southward on the 14th of August, when Fahrenheit's thermometer stood at 41 degrees.
In spring, the Barn Swallow is welcomed by all, for she seldom appears before the final melting of the snows and the commencement of mild weather, and is looked upon as the harbinger of summer. As she never commits depredations on any thing that men consider as their own, every body loves her, and, as the child was taught by his parents, so the man teaches his offspring, to cherish her. About a week after the arrival of this species, and when it has already resorted to its wonted haunts, examined its last year's tenement, or made choice of a place to which it may securely fix its nest, it begins either to build or to deposit its eggs. [ From Birds of America: Audubon's Journals webpage. ]
AUDUBON: CLIFF SWALLOW (from Birds of America, 1840) In the spring of 1815, I for the first time saw a few individuals of this species at Henderson, on the banks of the Ohio, a hundred and twenty miles below the Falls of that river. It was an excessively cold morning, and nearly all were killed by the severity of the weather. I drew up a description at the time, naming the species Hirundo republicans, the Republican Swallow, in allusion to the mode in which the individuals belonging to it associate, for the purpose of forming their nests and rearing their young. Unfortunately, through the carelessness of my assistant, the specimens were lost, and I despaired for years of meeting with others.
In the year 1819, my hopes were revived by Mr. ROBERT BEST, curator of the Western Museum at Cincinnati, who informed me that a strange species of bird had made its appearance in the neighbourhood, building nests in clusters, affixed to the walls. In consequence of this information, I immediately crossed the Ohio to Newport, in Kentucky, where he had seen many nests the preceding season; and no sooner were we landed than the chirruping of my long-lost little strangers saluted my ear. Numbers of them were busily engaged in repairing the damage done to their nests by the storms of the preceding winter. [ From Birds of America: Audubon's Journals webpage. ]
FINDING BARN SWALLOW Barn swallows, like their close relatives the cliff swallow, make their nests of mud. Their cup-shaped nests don't provide as much protection from the elements as the cliff swallow's gourd-shaped nest, so they are restricted to sites which have an overhang large enough to keep out rain and to shade the nest from the harsh, desert sun. Look for barns swallows nesting under carport roofs, on the sides of buildings with ample eaves, and under bridges.
FINDING CLIFF SWALLOW Cliff swallows are the most common nesting swallow in the area. They nest in large colonies under the eaves of buildings and, as their name suggests, on protected cliff faces. As they build their nests from mud, look for them near water. The Malheur Refuge, with its many cliffs and large expanses of marsh, is home to vast numbers of cliff swallows. [ From Springtime in Malheur Country! webpage. ]
Barn Swallows and Cliff Swallows On the Internet.
The Swallow Family http://www3.vantek.net/pmh/swallow.htm
Kent Justus andSteve Kroenke's Purple Martin webpages include a Swallow species overview. "Purple Martin Headquarters is an online information resource that has been created to contain the most up-to-date information on Purple Martin behavior and colony management that is available to you online. We have created this site for your education and enjoyment. It will frequently be updated with helpful hints and features on other outstanding martin organizations and landlords. One thing is certain in the martin interest - it is constantly changing and evolving. "
Cornell University: Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) http://birds.cornell.edu/BOW/BARSWA/
Cornell Lab of Ornithology. "Education is a vital component of the Lab's mission. We provide to the public a growing number of education projects and courses, and our citizen-science projects also provide a wide range of bird-related information. Living Bird, the Lab's award-winning magazine, and our Birdscope newsletter are also important vehicles for empowering people with the knowledge to become more effective stewards within their communities. Be sure to visit our Online Bird Guide and other bird identification features available on our web site."
John James Audubon, Birds of America: The Barn Swallow http://employeeweb.myxa.com/rrb/Audubon/VolI/00076.html
John James Audubon,Birds of America: The Republican or Cliff Swallow http://employeeweb.myxa.com/rrb/Audubon/VolI/00075.html
CLICK HERE for an on-line replica of the complete John James Audubon's Birds of America (1840-1844), which includes the full text, color plates, figures and bird calls. From the Publisher's Preface: "In 1803 a handsome young Frenchman arrived in America eager to explore a new land rich in promise and boundless opportunity. That young man was John James Audubon. Intent upon establishing himself as a successful businessman, Audubon opened a small general store in Louisville, but this and several other attempts at commerce yielded nothing but debt. His love for roaming the wilderness and painting birds proved too distracting. Finally, in the summer of 1819, Audubon chose art over business, a decision which proved to have far-reaching consequences."
Springtime in Malheur Country! http://donb.furfly.net/malheur/birds/bswallow.html
"The Don Baccus guide covers a large portion of southeastern Oregon centered around the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. It is oriented towards the natural history enthusiast and nature photographer. Due to the fact that the area offers the best springtime birding in Oregon, the emphasis is very much biased towards birds. There is also information on mammals, snakes, flowers and sightseeing. Photos Copyright Don Baccus."
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