Monday, 27 June 2016

The first of "our" Barn Swallows (Hirondelles rustiques) leaves the nest

26 June 2016

     We all assembled again to band the final four nests of young Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica with a few additional interested observers. 
     I must say again that Kevin has been absolutely obliging in terms of having an audience watch him band these birds, and has answered questions patiently and made sure that the children have enjoyed the experience and learned a good deal in the process. 
     The nestlings we have already banded are now within hours of leaving the nest, and are starting to crowd each other out.

     Here they are with their little rear ends all directed away from the nest to ensure that their droppings are shot over the side.

     Miriam was again handling the camera chores for me and she captured Kevin's banding skill very nicely in the following images.

     This little bird seems to have had enough to do with the nest and is ready to explore the world outside.

     Stephen Trink brought his two daughters Abigail, nine years old, and Emma, seven years old to watch the operation, and here they are along with Marilyn Burch, a friend of Dave and Sandy, carefully observing the goings on.

     These two little girls were absolutely fascinated by the birds and couldn't resist holding one.

     There is a degree of wonder, quite unrivalled by other experiences, in having intimate contact with wild creatures. This is especially true when children are involved and sometimes it is enough to trigger a lifelong connection to nature. I certainly hope that it turns about to be the case with Abigail and Emma, polite, engaged and delightful girls, who were anxious to participate and learn. I hope to see more of them and help them with their enjoyment of the natural world.
     Inside the barn no less interested observers and helpers watched Kevin return the banded brood back to their nest.

Josh Pickering, John Lichty, Kevin Grundy, Emma Trink, Marilyn Burch

     We had been observing this nest full of young birds.......

     .........when one decided that it was time to make an exit and flew over to a nearby perch.

     Within minutes it had moved over to the window and was feeling the first wind ever to ruffle its feathers. 

     This little bird is about to face the most dangerous segment of its young life as it learns how to cope with the world outside, and masters all the skills it takes to be a Barn Swallow. We wish it well!


  1. Hi David,
    fabulous photos of the swallow parents and the little ones. So cute.
    Be carefull with the thin legs.
    Best regards, Synnöve

  2. Bonjour cher ami,

    Oh ! Quelle merveille !... Je suis fascinée par ce délicat "travail" que celui de baguer ces oisillons. Vos photos sont sublimes.
    Je suis certaine que les enfants garderont en mémoire toute leur vie ces moments-là !
    Je me souviens toujours des jours où mon grand-père me portait pour admirer les oisillons dans les nids. Ces images ne m'abandonnent jamais. Très souvent j'y repense.

    Gros bisous ♡

  3. Hello David,
    What a beautiful picture of the Swallows.
    The rings and measuring the birds is good to know if they come back to the same place next year to breed.
    Well done!!
    Best regards, Irma

  4. Wonder where they'll be in 6 months time? Mexico?

  5. Hello David, great post on the swallows. Cute photo of the young ones on the nest. Enjoy your day and have a happy week ahead!

  6. Hello David!:) Excellent captures!:) They are such pretty birds. I'm wondering if the rings expand when their thin legs thicken, or are allowances made for growth.

    1. Actually their legs are fatter when they are in the nest and appropriate allowances are made.

  7. I was intereted to see that you banders still have to open the rings before fitting? As you know our own are partly open enough to simply close the ring once on the bird's leg.

    I agree. to introduce youngsters to such wonder can make them enthusiasts for life. We need as many as possible these days. Keep up the good work guys and gals.

  8. Nice one David, ringing the Swallows, can't beat it.

  9. Hello David !

    The girls are happy, it's beautiful.
    Congratulations to all !
    An amazing thing happens with me . Swallows try a black redstart nest ????
    Maybe two couples to conclude this year.


  10. So nice to see these two, young girls being involved in this.

  11. Hi David.

    Cute Barn Swallows.
    Cute little ones and beautiful that tracking the data.

    Groettie from Patricia.

  12. It will be interesting to see if any of these Barn Swallows return next year,traced by the Rings,lovely to see new blood involved with the Ringing,they look very keen,a big well done David,after all they will become the next Birders,with the help from people like your good selves.

  13. Beautiful as usual, David. Good text and pictures, and again new birders in the region!
    Gr Jan W

  14. Hi David, super post and again wonderful to see youngsters involved and interested in the ringing of your Barn Swallows. Regards John

  15. A delightful story, David, made all the more special by the presence of the youngsters. I hope that they grow up to be wildlife champions.

    Just catching up after returning from The Grant Arms. Guess what - I had a Dipper at a range of less than 2 metres!!! No Kidding!!

    Love to you both - - - Richard

  16. Dear David,
    I enjoyed reading this post.
    So nice you involve the young girls.
    Pictures of the birds are lovely.
    Best regards, Corrie

  17. Dearest David,
    That little Barn Swallow had lots of spectators on its maiden flight!
    Indeed wishing it well.

  18. Hi David!
    Got internet back at last!
    I hope you are both well, but from what I see it must be the case!
    How lovely to see those kiddoes ready to fly off!
    We have a lot more this season than in the past years in our countryside, quite elating!
    Huge hugs to share with lady Miriam :)

  19. Very cool to see these pictures of the swallows. The rings, the roads and the enthusiasm of the children. I like this swallows always very nice to see them fly :-)

  20. Little Barn Swallow is in front of the whole wide world... Exciting, inspiring and dangerous...

  21. The young barn swallows are a real delight, David. And I loved seeing photos of the two girl learning about banding. You're right, that experience could trigger a lifelong connection to nature. I see you are blog-friends with Phil-the-Birder in England. I am going to have lunch with Phil and his wife Sue in Knott-End-on-See this fall. I'm certainly looking forward to meeting them.