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Barn Swallow are sure to join the spring mating game as early as mid April. The summer I took these pictures was an especially fruitful one for these birds.
There is a picnic area at Herrick Lake Forest Preserve in Illinois that is coveted by humans as well as a few wildlife.
Not only does the Pavilion provide a sheltered place for family gathering, it's also the perfect place for these birds to create their mud nests.
These cup shaped nests cling to the rafters just like plaster on your wall. They kind of remind you of the mud huts created by some native cultures.
The first time I saw these birds flying about I didn't know what kind they were. I overheard someone say they looked like Purple Martins.
So I had to look them up.
I discovered they are Barn Swallows. The gentleman wasn't far off though because Purple Martins are also a swallow and have even got some of the same characteristics.
As summer progressed I had great fun taking these pictures. And I think they tell the story quite well. Sometimes the babies would be looking down at me while I aimed the camera at them.
Each trip to the park that summer opened a new saga in the adventure of these birds. They are quite comfortable with humans and didn't seem to mind when people would come to picnic. I saw one woman doing a sketch on a partcularly lovely afternoon.
The babies were quite curious as they grew almost too big for their nest. Although I wasn't at the park every day it did appear that this particular summer would produce not one but three different generations of birds.
But alas as they say, all good things must come to an end. It seems these lovely birds were not friends with all of the park dwellers. Not everyone could appreciate the fact that Barn Swallows also keep the insect population down. Insects are their main diet which is why they are popular birds to have around.
They were in a favorite picnic area though and this presented a problem in the end. I guess the forest rangers felt the birds were in danger. One day we walked by and all of the nests were gone. They were replaced with empty boxes. I got one picture of a barn swallow on a box. But after the nests were gone, the birds left.
You never know where birds are going to build their nests though. Stephanie from WV shared her summer fun of Robin Baby Bird Pictures with us. She followed them from nest discovery to the point of ready to leave the nest.
I wondered if they would come back this year. And sure enough I saw one there last week. Time will tell if they will decide to nest there again. You can still see the tracings of where the nests were last year. These birds are one of a few birds that will return to the same nesting area year after year.
Inviting Birds to Your Home
If you like having birds of any kind around, I have read that it is quite easy to invite these house friendly creatures in. Just have a place that is open and protected from the weather. They especially like to nest in barn rafters. I guess that's where they got their name. I wonder if they like gazebos.
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Although Creations by Sally's focus is often flowers, nature has so much to offer I have to include a little of it all. There are so many things about all of nature that I enjoy. I hope you do to.
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