About The Barn Swallow

One of the best known species of a group of long-winged perching birds that lives in most parts of the world is the Barn Swallow. This particular specie lives throughout North America and Europe. It is the easiest North American swallow that bird watchers can identify due to its distinctive long forked tail. Its feathers are swept back and form a single long point behind the bird when in flight. A Barn Swallow measures about 5 ½ to 7 inches in length and its bill is very short. Its color is dark blue-black above with a dark rusty throat while the rest of its body is pale rusty.

The Barn Swallow Nesting Preferences

A Barn Swallow commonly builds a mud nest in a chimney or on the rafters inside barns. It has the tendency to return to the same nesting site year after year. The nest is built by both the male and the female bird more often in the morning, by making as much as a thousand trips to collect mud. This specie originally nested in caves and on rocky cliffs but quickly saw the advantage of man-made structures. The nest is basically a cup of mud pellets lined with grass and feathers built either under eaves of building, resting on a beam or some projection in barns, under bridges, in culverts or at times in a niche on a cliff. At present, these birds nests only on places with man-made structures. The females may lay 3 to 8 white eggs that are spotted with reddish brown. The eggs are incubated for 14 to 16 days and the young is expected to leave the nest within 18 to 23 days. It is possible to have two broods for a season.

Building a Birdhouse For The Barn Swallow

The recommended size of a birdhouse for a bird of this size is approximately 4 inches in length x 4 inches in width x 8-10 inches in height. The entrance diameter is about 1 ¼ inches. The birdhouse should be placed from 5 to 15 feet above ground. However, barn swallows do not nest in enclosed places and show preference for nesting shelves bracketed to walls of buildings. A nesting shelf has a roof, back, bottom and an open front with narrow sides which are best placed under overhangs and eaves.

The Barn Swallow Mating Habits

Male swallows rarely pair with 2 females since it is generally a monogamous specie. Paired males usually mate with a single female and are intent on aggressively defending the small area around the nest. It will guard against other males that might attempt to mate with its partner.

The Barn Swallow Feeding Preferences

A Barn Swallow feeds on flying insects and feed on the wing. This specie will feed in pairs and fly at low altitude during the breeding season, generally over fields and water. They feed on small, loosely formed flocks during non-breeding season. Most kinds of sparrows can be given small grains and seeds such as millet, hemp, rape, milo, buckwheat, canary seed and cracked corn.

Interesting Barn Swallow Facts

A barn swallow is known to spend more time in the air than almost any other land bird. Its repetitive action of flying back and forth to any open barn or outbuilding in the country is a sure sign of summer. Bird watchers can find barn swallows in open country and marshes, particularly near barns, outbuildings, bridges and culverts. Swallows have been seen to bathe by flying over a pond and dipping into it without stopping their flight. The specie is classified as Order Passeriformes and Family Hirundinida. Its scientific name is Hirundo rustica.