Barn swallow question

Welcome to the internet's gathering place for Purple Martin enthusiasts
Post Reply
dsonyay
Posts: 1250
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

At the place I work at in Port Allen we have plenty of barn swallows that disappeared during the winter. I'm assuming they migrated too.

When should we expect them to return? Thery are very fun to watch here. They make mud houses under the boat docks and I love to throw bugs for them to dive down on. They too are very acrobatic and do some funny stuff. As of today, we have not seen a sign of them either.

Last summer was the first time I was ever around them so much. I never realized how many we have along the MS River. We work along the river and they are everywhere out here.
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

I would start looking in March.

Barn swallows make their own nest and therefore don't have quite the pressure martins do about competing for nesting sites. Hence no really early arrivals like is usual with martins.

Barn swallows are specialized low-altitude feeders which take smaller insects than purple martins.

Mike Scully
...if the gentlemen of Virginia shall send us a dozen of their sons, we would take great care in their education, instruct them in all we know, and make men of them. Canasatego 1744
John Miller
Posts: 4776
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 9:11 pm
Location: St. Louis, MO

David

Just some things I've learned...barn swallows are distributed worldwide and may be many genes removed from purple martins.

As Mike says, they tend to arrive a little later. Still, we usually have a cold spell and here in St. Louis in April, there are cold spring days when I see swarms of barn swallows, tree swallows and even chimney swifts flying low over lakes in Forest Park to feed on gnats. You only occasionally see a martin among the flocks. Being larger they tend to hole up to conserve energy until larger insects are available.

I used to think all barnies nested on barn rafters, but in the park many attach their nests to supports under road bridges ...some just three or four feet above small creeks below. I think some bridges that are more raccoon proof have larger colonies. Other barnies do nest on the sides and insides of nearby park maintenance buildings, and sometimes in the parking garages at a nearby medical center.

Many people consider them a nuisance if they nest on a porch -- or worse -- above your parked car under a canopy. Unlike martins, they do tend to drop poop below. But I'd welcome them (easy for me to say..I don't have a garage anyway.) I too love watching them dart above fields and streams. They are the first to find egg shells I put out in the park on large rocks for martins...and they are welcome to take their share.

John M
dsonyay
Posts: 1250
Joined: Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:10 pm
Location: Louisiana/Broussard
Martin Colony History: 2010-2014 located in Slidell LA. Gourd rack with 16 gourds. Max of 2 pairs during this short period in Slidell. Plenty of fledglings.

2014-present.. moved to Broussard LA. Same Gourd Rack but added a 6 room house (modified from a 12 room)

2020: after a long drought of nothing, 4 pairs and 4 nests, 23 eggs total (May2020)

thanks,
I love them. I can see many of the mud nests near the boat docks. There are hundreds here and yes, I have noticed they are more like skimmers. They feed much lower than the martins.

On some morning we have these "katydid" looking bugs all over our boat. I can pick them up, toss in the air and the little swallows fly by and snag them. Sometimes they hover very close to me waiting for the toss. They're really pretty little birds too.

They were also around here much longer after the summer than the martins and I enjoyed them lingering until late fall. Then one day the were gone.

BTW-- today we spotted one on the river near Baton Rouge. Skimming along the river next to our boat. So I answered my own question :)
Post Reply