LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Monday, June 1, 2015

Birds by the Lake


We have several lakes in our community.  And I love to linger near the shores at twilight and watch the mist rising.  I especially like to watch the antics of the Barn Swallows as they skim just above the water's surface catching insets.

Barn Swallows are amazing birds and nest in the summers throughout the United States.  They are the most common swallow of all.  They are beautiful in flight with their scissor-tails and darting movements.  Legend says that the forked tail came about because the swallows dared to steal fire from the gods and bring it to the people.  The gods were furious at the theft and one of them hurled a fireball at the swallow, burning away its middle tail feathers.

Swallows tend to live in caves or under man-made structures such as bridges, sheds, and (of course) barns.  They carry mud and dab it on the nest until it is large enough.  They are amazing birds and I enjoy them.  I secretly cheer every time they catch an insect.

Typical Barn Swallow nest made of little dabs of mud from the lake.




 The forked tail, punishment for giving fire to humans




 Finally she tires of my being around and shouts for me to go away


The little Barn Swallow fledglings are adorable.  They have white circles around their little mouths and look for the world like they are wearing clown makeup.  Like several other birds, the first brood may stay around to help with subsequent broods.  They are indeed lovely birds.


13 comments:

Barbara Rogers said...

Lots of things I never knew about swallows...but I also love to see them at sunset feeding off the surface of a lake. Aren't there other skimmer birds too who are bigger? Just wondering.

robin andrea said...

We were watching barn swallows fly around the cow pastures yesterday. They are truly a delight to watch. Love seeing your photos. Nesting season is such a wonderful time of the year.

Cheryl said...

So beautiful. Thanks for sharing the images with us.
I enjoyed the legend........so interesting.

Carolina Linthead said...

Some of my very favorites! Thank you for sharing these lovely images.

Mary Lee said...

I liked this. Wonder if they're around in urban areas like ours. Do you remember Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation where our intrepid hero, Jimmy Stewart, took a bird watching hike? He kept spotting birds in different spots and he'd ask the tour leader, "What's that one over there?" and the guy would always say disgustedly, "BARN swallow."

I'm glad to see they're not the lowlife creatures indicated by his tone. :)

Ms. A said...

I love your photos with your story, especially the last shot!

Tara Crowley said...

Bet you can't wait until there are fledglings in that nest! We're currently watching BBC Life series and just last night watched the episode on birds. Too fascinating. Amazingly adaptive creatures.

Great photos!

Arkansas Patti said...

They are my favorite bird. Their coloring is so pretty and I adore their distinctive little heads. Lucky you to have a nesting pair. I had a pair once but they nested on my porch light which was really close to the roof and it was the summer we had many 100+ degree days. Think they have found a cooler place to build. Enjoy them.

KB Bear said...

You are very lucky to get to watch swallows so much. I loved how the mom yelled at you at the end :) We have some swallows in our area but not enough for us to watch them like you do. I'd love to see a photo of the nestlings if you ever get a chance!

Lowcarb team member said...

You are lucky to have lakes around you ... there is something special about being by water.

Loved your pictures, thank you.

All the best Jan

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone.

KB - I will definitely get some photographs of the nestlings.

Linda Ault said...

I too really enjoy barn swallows. They love to follow a mower too.

NCmountainwoman said...

Linda - Thanks for dropping by and for your comments. I can imagine they would love the insects stirred up by a mower.