Cliff Swallows?

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kehunter
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:42 am
Location: TX/Pearland

We made a round trip from Pearland (Houston) to Fort Worth this past weekend, and saw several large, active swallow colonies under various overpasses along I-45.

We stopped at one of the more active sites on the return trip and took a closer look. From what I could tell, they were cliff swallows. On a future trip I will stop and try to get some photos of the nests.

I find each of the different swallow types fascinating in their own right.

Kevin
2016 - 6 cavities in Royal Wing/S&K house + 6 BO9 gourds with tunnels/porches on pole 1, 6 BO9 gourds with tunnels/porches on pole 2
2015 - new homebuilt 3 cavity house plus 3 BO9 gourds with tunnels porches on second pole, in addition to prior setup. 15 pairs, 54 fledged
2014 - 6 6x12 house cavities (plastic Royal Wing/S&K), plus 6 BO9 gourds with tunnels/porches offered; 12 pairs, 50 fledged
Matt F.
Posts: 3895
Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 9:48 am
Location: Houston, TX

That is very cool Kevin.
Cliff Swallows, and Barn Swallows, are definitely expanding their breeding range in Texas - no doubt taking advantage of the ever increasing structures, like highway overpasses.
Some overpasses in my area, did not see any birds nest in/under them for decades, other than common pigeons.
Over the past 10 years, I've started seeing Cliff Swallows and Barn Swallows moving in, which is so great to see.
Some of the bridges and overpasses have both - Cliffies and Barnies.
I always love explaining the nest differences to folks, when they see them - the Cliffies' nests looking like mud, horizontal gourds, and the Barnies' nests looking like mud, soup bowls........:lol:
Side note: Here's an amazing article, about Cliff Swallows:
http://newsroom.unl.edu/announce/todayatunl/2233/12588
kehunter
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Feb 24, 2014 11:42 am
Location: TX/Pearland

I'm very familiar with the barnies, we have a pretty big group in my neighborhood. The underpass dwellers along I-45 definitely had a white breast with some orange at the throat.....pretty certain they were Cliffs.

We saw them mostly north of Huntsville. Some colonies looked like there were at least 50-75 birds.

Kevin
2016 - 6 cavities in Royal Wing/S&K house + 6 BO9 gourds with tunnels/porches on pole 1, 6 BO9 gourds with tunnels/porches on pole 2
2015 - new homebuilt 3 cavity house plus 3 BO9 gourds with tunnels porches on second pole, in addition to prior setup. 15 pairs, 54 fledged
2014 - 6 6x12 house cavities (plastic Royal Wing/S&K), plus 6 BO9 gourds with tunnels/porches offered; 12 pairs, 50 fledged
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
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Trio-Jedi

Cliff swallows are dramatically expanding their range and populations due to the changes made in bridge design. Pretty interesting story.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
DornCounty
Posts: 2172
Joined: Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:58 pm
Location: Rural SE Kansas
Martin Colony History: .
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Trio-Jedi

kehunter wrote:I'm very familiar with the barnies, we have a pretty big group in my neighborhood. The underpass dwellers along I-45 definitely had a white breast with some orange at the throat.....pretty certain they were Cliffs.

We saw them mostly north of Huntsville. Some colonies looked like there were at least 50-75 birds.

Kevin
Pretty much a lock in my opinion. Especially if they were in large numbers like 20+.
2017 - Home & Public Colonies - 300 Cavities
Steve Martin
Posts: 68
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 9:38 am
Location: Tx/Bastrop

Cliff Swallows are very active in underpasses all over Central Texas. I believe in this part of Texas they are the most common swallow nesting in underpasses. Although there are other swallows that do nest in underpasses.

To get a %100 positive ID on a cliffie, I like to stand road over the underpass and watch the birds returning to the nest. The marking that I go for is the light patch between the eyes. Then you are looking down at a fast moving bird it looks like the bird is wearing little goggles. When I see a "goggle wearing" swallow I know it is a little cliffie. Technically speaking, the marking does not go around the birds eyes but, when my brain sees a quick glimpse of a fist moving bird it appears like goggles.

http://www.planetofbirds.com/Master/PAS ... wallow.jpg

http://birds.audubon.org/sites/default/ ... 20_l_1.jpg
David W
Posts: 70
Joined: Sun Mar 23, 2014 9:32 am
Location: PA/Hamburg-Tilden Twp

Years ago I was down at my son's home in Delaware and on his upstairs porch in the evening saw these birds flying around and you could hear them chirping. They were off in a distance and I thought they were martins, but later some flew closer and I could see they were cliff swallows or chimney swifts.
Neat birds and are the fastest flying bird in level flight.
2013-4 gourds 4 pair
2014-12 gourds 7 nesting pair, 32 fledged
2015-24 gourds 21 nesting pair 79 fledged
2016-24 gourds 21 nesting pair 89 fledged
starling shooter
Posts: 452
Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2003 7:43 pm
Location: Central MO

They are EXPLODING in MO!

Participated in the breeding bird altas 20 years ago or so...very few colonies. Most were notable.

Heck, I live by a 200 pair colony on a bridge. Even seen sigles on small bridges. Big colony in JC also.

On a sad note, barnies hey day is setting as the old barns with haylofts come down due to age and changes in farming practices. When they nested on the joist of a hayloft, no predator (cat/black snake) could access them.

Now, nesting as they do, on peoples houses, they are udner assult from jays, woodpeckers and everything else.
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