It is fledging time on Bull Creek. The century old barn is functioning as a pediatric ward full of barn swallows as well as the black vulture chicks. There are at least 7 swallow nests glued to the beams, each brimming with chicks warming their engines for takeoff. Every time we entered the barn in June there was a mass of zooming parents darting in and out and chirping hysterically. By now they don't pay much attention, having become accustomed to our coming and going just like the vultures have.
Barn Swallows, Hirundo rustica, are a common sight around our land, swooping over our garden and patrolling up and down the creek, dining on a rich source of flying insects. They dart gracefully at low levels, sometimes just skimming the water. Their distinctive pointed V-shaped tails and flight pattern cannot be mistaken for any other bird.
These swallows have made a successful adaptation to the presence of humans, so much so that their nesting is almost exclusively limited to man-made structures. Their numbers increased dramatically as we spread barns and farm structures across North America and they found the perfect place to next.
Driving down pond trail with Mike Kromrey's parents, his mother, Sandy, spotted some "big birds." Sneaking up on them with camera in hand, I got some good pictures of a pair of black vultures sitting on the top edge of a hollow tree, half a mile from our barn with its vulture chicks. These look to be the same age as ours. When I got too close, they dropped back into the tree with a drum-like thump.
|Hollow tree nest|
|Note down traces- Click to enlarge|
|Our barn vultures the same day|