Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Barn Swallow Babies

Two 'pretty-new' Barn Swallows look skyward in hopes of a food delivery coming pretty soon.

New to this world and clueless as to what to make of EVERYTHING, they react in unison to each passing adult with an insect for another fledgling.

The parent Barn Swallows weren't ignoring their offspring. They were skimming the inner harbor waters of Port Washington, Wisconsin.

Darting back and forth, they'd snatch insects from the air and water.

The fledglings waited, not by choice, rather... What-choice-do-we-have? 

They struggled to remain balanced on the slippery, shiny chrome boat railing they had chosen as a perch.

Just when they felt secure, a ripple in the water sent them tumbling.

It didn't help, either, having a clumsy brother socking you sideways.

(Click any picture to enlarge.)

The fledglings' demand for insects seemed without end, yet occasional rests were in order for the parents.

It's a good opportunity to point out the finer points of this male Barn Swallow: blue-black upper side, orange underside and a dark rufous throat.

The female Barn Swallow is similarly spectacular with a paler orange underside.

They are smooth, agile and swift flyers. Just watching them collecting airborne insects is entertainment in itself. 

Delivering a high speed mouthful of insects on the wing is a challenge.

Coming in fast and low, with no intention of stopping, the female lines up an open mouth.

In his excitement, however, the fledgling slips off the shiny chrome.

No problem.  Mother course-corrects and aces the youngster's food delivery.

Then she veers off smoothly to let the fledgling collect himself. 

This show of arial dexterity certainly goes on where you live. Barn Swallows are common along streams, lakes and ponds.

They live most everywhere in North America... Alaska to Mexico, East Coast to West Coast and so fun to watch!


Credits: The Sibley's Guide to Birds.