Friday, June 17, 2011

Surprised By Barn Swallows...

The other day I walked into the kitchen to make lunch.  I happened to look out the window and noticed a bird in the ditch behind our house.  I noticed the bird had straw in its mouth and seemed to be dipping it into the muddy water.  I quickly called the boys and we began watching the bird.  I knew this would be a perfect opportunity to begin the June Outdoor Hour Challenges.  We soon saw two birds taking turns bringing straw to the water.  We walked out to the little well house and hid while we watched the birds.

The barn swallow was beautiful...the sun shining on the feathers...sparkling a deep blue...

I knew the bird looked like it was in the swallow family so we looked it up in our field guide and determined it was a barn swallow.  We watched the pair of birds fly from the barn in the pasture back to the ditch for about twenty minutes.  We guessed there was a nest somewhere around the barn.  So after lunch we took a little trip to the barn to have a look around.

Here are the boys watching the birds...

When we arrived at the barn, we began to look around inside...climbing the hay...looking around the rafters...
Bo heard a noise outside so we decided to take a look around the edge of the barn...sure enough the barn swallows were sitting on the fence of the catch pen.  We looked up and saw a nest made of mud and straw on the outside...
We came home and sketched the barn swallows in our nature notebook.
What we learned about barn swallows...

These birds choose a barn where there is a hole in the gable or where the doors are kept open all the time.  They build upon beams or rafters, making a cup-shaped nest of layers of pellets of mud, with grass between;it is well lined with feathers...the eggs are white and dotted with reddish brown.  The barn swallows, aside from their constant twittering also have a pretty song.  Both parents work at building the nest and feeding the young; there are likely to be several pairs nesting in the same building.  The parents continue to feed the young long after they have left the nest...The Barn Swallow has a distinctly tailor made appearance; its red-brown vest and iridescent blue coat, with deeply forked "coat tails" give it an element of style that no other bird, not event he chic cedar waxwing can emulate.  Handbook of Nature Study, 110-111



3 comments:

Carissa said...

Awesome post!!!

it is great that you seized the moment and had the children watch the birds, that later turned into a full blown nature study!!

Love the sketches!
Carissa

Barb-Harmony Art Mom said...

I am so glad you shared your barn swallows...love the story of your entry and that you took advantage of a wonderful nature study moment. I would love to see these birds making their nests!

Very nice job and I love the info from the HNS. Thanks for sharing your link with the OHC.

Zonnah said...

I love how the picture showed him so intent on his drawing!