The barn swallow’s distinctive silhouette makes it easy to identify. The sharp curve of its wings and its forked tail have been captured in art for centuries. Barn swallows are named for their mud nests, which they build at the start of every mating season. The birds once built these nests in caves, but their use of manmade structures has become so prevalent that they haven’t even been observed making nests elsewhere. These small birds are prolific flyers. They spend the breeding season in North America, then migrate to South America. They have been seen as far south as the Strait of Magellan, at almost the very tip of Chile. Barn swallows can eat, mate and even feed their young while in flight. In summer evenings it is common to see barns swallows taking graceful swooping dives over bodies of water. They are catching and consuming insects mid flight. In Winters, a large number of barn swallow nests can be found on the underside of the car bridge over Putah Creek. The best place to observe these families is from the railroad bike bridge. It provides a unique opportunity to view the swallows building nests, incubating eggs and teaching their fledglings to take their first flight.]]>
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