Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Cliff Swallow (and nest)
El Sobrante, California, USA
Member of the Swallow Family
§A creche of young swallows§
~true bird facts~ Cliff swallows show a lot of interesting social characteristics. They usually live in colonies, which, out west, can be up to 3700 nests. When a swallow finds a source of food (they eat flying insects, mostly), they sometimes call out to their colony using a special cry, alerting them of the meal. Swallows also sometimes raise each other's young, placing one of their eggs into another swallow's nest. Let's not speculate on the rational or evolutionary reasons for these behaviors (like many other websites) and just assume that swallows are really into communal living.
Has been through some stressful times, but is doing great now
Open to new experiences
Very into the colony, makes good use of the considerable support they provide
Likes physical closeness
Construction: Mud pellets, which the swallow caries from up to a mile away, one mouthful at a time. A nest is made up of 900-1200 mud pellets. Inside it is lined with grasses or vegetation.
Location: The San Pablo Reservoir recreational area, under the awning of a restroom.
Occupants: A pair of cliff swallows, their young. A male swallow sometimes begins construction of the nest before he finds a partner, but they build it together for the most part. While the swallows only have one partner that they raise young with, they continue to "frequently mate outside of the pair bond". Thanks for describing bird polyamory in such a dry way, allaboutbirds.org