Two Swallows

A juvenile Northern Rough-winged Swallow perches just a few feet off the Wetlands Overlook.

Over the past few weeks we’ve had two bird species show up that I was happy to see, both swallows. The first, a family of Northern Rough-winged Swallows spent a little over a week practicing the art of catching flying insects over our Wetlands. There were 6 – 7 birds in the group, two adults and five or six juveniles.

This bird shows us the light brown wing bars and edges to the other flight feathers of a juvenile.

I’ve seen family groups here in previous summers, but typically only one or two juvenile birds. It was nice to see a large group of the swallows, and for over a week.

The other swallow that graced us with its presence was the Barn Swallow. A group of about four birds came in for the day. It didn’t look as though any of the birds were recently fledged, these all appeared to be adult birds. In fact, two of them attempted to mate with a female that landed on a birch tree a half dozen feet from the Wetlands Overlook.

A male Barn Swallow glances over his “shoulder” at a female a few feet away.

Barn Swallows are common in North Carolina, but they don’t nest here on the Museum campus. Bridges and overpasses seem to be the places to find these swallows, especially those bridges that span bodies of water, Falls Lake and the Eno River to name two very local bodies of water.

Barn Swallows epitomize the term swallow with their long outer tail feathers creating the ellegant swallowtail of this species. It would be a thrill to have these swallows, any swallow species, nest here at the Museum. It’s an absolute pleasure to watch them wheeling and turning as they chase about the sky snatching dinner from the air.

2 responses to Two Swallows

  1. Sarah says:

    I saw a couple of the swallows tonight over the wetlands overlook platform and my very first Goldfinch of the season at the bird feeders in Catch the Wind. The rain may have stopped guests from enjoying the evening at the museum, but it didn’t bother the birds any!

    • Greg Dodge says:

      I’m sure we miss a lot of activity by not being in the Wetlands until sunset. Each time that I have stayed late (Black Light Insect Hunt) I’ve seen chimney swifts drop into the wetlands, swallows, and even wood ducks silently fly in and then swim off into the willows. And of course the bats take over for the birds just before sunset. I good time of day.

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