Monday, May 20, 2013

Barn Swallows Nest Building at the Stone Barn

Photographing the Activity of the Barn Swallow Nest Building
The Stone Barn that is located on the property of the Allen Pond Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary, besides being a location for events is also providing homes for birds.  In the cellar, Phoebes and Barn Swallows are nesting.  Outside under the eaves, House Sparrows have nests.  On the sliding track above the main door, a pier about swallows are building their nest.  As you said outside and watch all this activity going on around you, you can hear many different types of birds singing.  In fact, yesterday morning, while photographing flowers and some of the birds that were present, we saw 31 different species of birds.

Originally, the plan for Sunday was to do some more flower macro photography, however, within a half-hour of arriving the wind picked up in the flowers were blowing in the breeze.  I definitely will have to make a Mike Moats wind box http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HUhbhXbslW4, so I can photograph flowers in there is a slight breeze blowing.

The morning turned into photographing and observing the barn swallows building their nest over the main door of the stone barn.

Here are some facts about Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica), first is the most widespread species of swallow in the world.  It is found in Europe, Asia, Africa and both North and South America.  There are six different subspecies which breed in the northern hemisphere and four of them are very migratory and there wintering grounds cover most of the southern hemisphere, including northern Australia

Barn swallows utilize mud pellets reinforced with twigs to build their cup-shaped nest in line the nest with grasses, feathers, algae and other soft material.  Both male and female barn swallows help construct the nest, however, more often by the female.
Barn Swallow Nest
Barn Swallow Scraping Mud from Its Beak
Barn Swallow Bringing Nesting Material

Pair of Barn Swallows Working on the Nest

Barn Swallow with Mud Pellet

Barn Swallow Returning to Nest

Barn Swallow Leaving Nest


In Massachusetts, barn swallow trends show signs of wide-ranging decline, so Massachusetts Audubon started the Big Barn Study. http://www.massaudubon.org/Birds_and_Birding/birdstowatch/bigbarnstudy/index.php and are asking people to become involved and submit observations.

Here are photographs of a pair of swallows building their nest at the Stone Barn.  Majority of the photographs of by my grandson Kyle with some of course, taken by me.