If you remember back in March, I reported that Northern Rough-winged Swallows had returned from their southern winter quarters and were zooming around the Wetlands. I also mentioned that they nest nearby and that they sometimes bring their young to our Wetlands for flying lessons, lessons on how to catch their preferred food, flying insects. The swallows did so this week.
For the past few days I’ve been watching as the parents dip, dive, and whirl about the Wetlands, catching insects on the wing. The youngsters sit perched on exposed branches watching, and presumably learning from, the aerial acrobatics of the adults. Mostly, though, the immature swallows sit on a branch and beg for food whenever an adult approaches them.
The parents continue the aerial display until the young swallows catch on that they are supposed to get off the perch, take flight, and join the pursuit. The adults fly close in an attempt to get the young swallows to follow.
Sooner or later the young swallows get the message and realize that there’s a whole world of flying insects for the taking out beyond their little perch. They soon start hunting for themselves, side by side with their parents.
Wish them luck!