Barn Swallow nesting

Barn Swallows are very common, even in the urban areas of Oklahoma City. I see them in large numbers around Lake Hefner, my daily birding escape, but I don’t pay enough attention to them.  I realized this after finding a Barn Swallow on a nest this spring and learning that I had never taken a “nest shot” of this species. My bad for taking them for granted!

So, here is a nest shot which I think is fairly typical of a Barn Swallow nest in Oklahoma (notice the red clay construction). This one was located under the eave of a building.

Barn Swallow at the nest

I do wish I had been able to capture images of young birds from this nesting but it just didn’t work out.  I did get to see a pair of fledgling Barn Swallows at another area of the lake.  So, here is a shot of what young fledglings look like, yellow mouths making them distinctive and easier to determine the age.

Barn Swallow fledglings (hungry)

And if the yellow mouths and begging didn’t confirm that these two were newly fledged, the in-flight feeding by one of the parents confirmed that these two were not yet old enough to fend for themselves.

Barn Swallow fledglings being fed by a parent

Is that incredible delivery or what?!!  In order to photograph the actual feeding I’ve learned to focus the camera on the youngsters and, when their begging sounds more urgent, start snapping photos even though I don’t see the parent. This feeding maneuver is so quick (feeding only one fledgling per trip) that it is impossible for me to capture the picture if I wait until I see the adult.

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