Friday, 15 July 2016

Here we go again!

14 July 2016
Barn Swallows at SpruceHaven

     As was to be expected our colony of Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica is starting to produce second clutches, the young from the first nest now having been left to fend for themselves.
     Yesterday, nest No. 67 had a bird sitting on it, and following the night's substantial rainfall, others were outside gathering mud and grass to refurbish existing nests or construct new ones.

     We have had little rain this summer and I am sure that the 25 mm or so that we just received was a major stimulus in initiating renesting behaviour.
     Our colony had around twenty active nests for the first round of nesting and we will be watching to see if all those nests are reoccupied and whether any additional nests are built. We will also be checking to see whether any of the old nests that were not used on the first go around are occupied for a second brood. It is a shame that we have no way of knowing whether the same pair will reoccupy the nest they used for their first brood.

     Insects were present in substantial numbers yesterday, of various types, and I am sure that the abundant food supply will also spur on the birds to nest again. Barn Swallows are eclectic in their choice of food and are known to take large flies of the family Muscidae, hoverflies, horseflies and robberflies, smaller acalypterate flies and nematoceran flies. Aphids and other plant bugs form a significant component of the diet, with beetles, parasitic Hymenoptera, bees, moths, mayflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, lacewings and caddisflies also. Barn Swallows do not hesitate to brush past foliage to pick off caterpillars and skim across the surface of the water to snare insects in flight. The pond at SpruceHaven, right next to the barn where the swallows are breeding, is seldom without several birds feeding at the surface.

     All the conditions are right for a successful second batch of young swallows and our entire team is looking forward to continuing to monitor this important colony.

Reference used: Swallows and Martins (1989), Angela Turner and Chris Rose, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA, USA     


  1. bellissime immagini :)
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  2. Hello David, wonderful series of barn swallows.
    Here they are with the second brood busy, there are fewer swallows as last year.
    Best regards, Irma

  3. Its good to hear that you have an abundance of insects at the moment. Just now we have the opposite with little sunshine and weather reminiscent of October or March. I'm pleased that my blog post spurred you on.

    By the way, if you have not tried this.Adult Swallows can be safely lifted from the nest at late egg or small young size for ringing
    They will return quickly.

    1. Thanks for the tip, Phil. I will pass this on to our bander, Kevin Grundy.

  4. Hi David, superb to see your Barn Swallows are going for a second brood, should keep them busy for a while again. Interesting comment from Phil regarding ringing the adults.
    Regards John

  5. Hi. Great photos. I followed some time ago the same thing to do. Swallows did not bother us at all. Greetings.

  6. Nice pictures David. No time to waste for these birds. This summer we had a Blackbird nest in the hedge and I was very impressed by the job they did, to find worms for the litter. The swallows must work harder, I think, catching all their food in the air. Gr Jan W

  7. Por aquí también estamos con la segunda puesta y muchos nidos de golondrina ya tienen los pollos muy desarrollados, parece que va ser un verano muy bueno para esta especie. Precioso reportaje mi amigo David, un fuerte abrazo desde España.

  8. Hi David.

    Nice pictures of the swallows.

    Greetings from Patricia.

  9. Just been catching up with your posts since I have been away. Some great photos. I never see swallows on the ground, either they are i the air or on electrical wires with the light in the wrong position!!!
    Glad to here that strikes are not only in France!!! Our train was cancelled at the last minute due to the strike here that was taking us to Paris and our flight to Philly. Luckily we managed to catch an earlier one, but only upstairs seats were available, great fun with 3 suitcases and hand luggage!! Hope all is well Diane

  10. I'm delighted to hear that your Barn Swallows are busy again, David. If it helps, we have plenty of spare rain that you are more than welcome to. We're still waiting for summer to arrive!

    Love to you both - - - Richard

  11. Beautiful pictures of the swallows David.
    Nice to see how they are looking.
    Nice weekend, Tinie greetings

  12. Brilliant captures David,nice to see them on there second lay.

  13. wonderful captures, they have a bit of a pretty sheen to them. my robins have had 2 broods and i had to take my wreath down as i was having my house painted. as soon as i rehung it, they started another nest. i had to take it down, it's just getting too messy and too worrisome right by my front door!!!

  14. Wow, second clutches already!?!?

  15. Wonderful birds - I really enjoyed watching some when I was in Scotland. Canada is on my wish list of locations - all I need now is a conference to persuade work to send me to!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. Better make sure it's in Ontario so we can help you do some birding!

  16. David, you caught the Swallow so well, one of my favourites.

  17. Dearest David,
    This is so rewarding to see the Barn Swallows do so well and enough time left in summer for a second brood.

  18. Really great to see these beorenzwaluwen David!
    I Hopop that there will be a successful second brood, and that this not going to last too long :-)

  19. It's fantastic for the species !!!! In my home, there's no a segond clutches.
    there are 7 eggs in a nest box but the adults are gone. The next year maybe.
    Good luck for them :))

  20. Nice photos about Barn Swallows. We have had a lot of rain this summer in here were I live...