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Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

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Cliff Swallow--Strength in Numbers

Cliff Swallows gather in spring, in nesting colonies of up to 3,700 nests. Look for swarms of them under bridges, under the eaves of barns, or even the side of your house. The swallows use mud to make gourd-shaped nests - side by side and jumbled together. Watch the video! And Cliff Swallows... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Connectivity

Migratory birds connect the Northern Plains with many parts of the Western Hemisphere. Barn and Cliff Swallows, McCown's Longspurs, this Lark Bunting, and many other birds winter from Central to southern South America. But their reproduction depends on the bounty of the prairie spring. Disrupting... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Swallows and Mud - A Myth?

The swallows that make mud nests in spring and catch flying insects all summer are now far south in Mexico, and Central and South America. It's only as recently as the end of the nineteenth century that ornithologists agreed that swallows, including this Cliff Swallow, migrate. Many formerly... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, myth

Where Swallows Go in Winter

Through all of spring and summer, swallows dart and sail overhead, their airborne grace a wonder to behold. But by October, the skies seem empty. Most swallows have flown south, in search of insects. The eight species of swallows that nest in the US - including this Cliff Swallow - migrate south... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

The Swallows of Capistrano

Every year, the change from winter to spring brings millions of Cliff Swallows from Argentina to North America. Since the early 1800s, swallows had returned, year after year, to the Mission of San Juan Capistrano. But during a restoration project in the 1990s, the venerable mud nests were removed... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, nesting
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