|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
The popular and attractive Barn Swallow, found worldwide, is the most widespread of the swallows. In the western hemisphere, it winters in South America, but migrates northward to breed over most of North America. A round trip may cover 14,000 miles. They prefer open country, and readily nest on man-made structures. They perform an important economic function as they cruise low over lawns, fields, lakes, and ponds, consuming large numbers of flies, aphids, beetles, bees, moths, mayflies, dragonflies, grasshoppers, caterpillars and other insects.
The Barn Swallow has a glossy steel blue upper side, white underside, and chestnut forehead, chin and throat.
Barn Swallows nest in colonies. Typical nesting habitats are open barns, bridges, culverts, and other artificial structures. Note the mist net across the openings used to catch the swallows.
The nest, constructed of mud pellets and plant fibers, is built by both parents. It is usually attached to a vertical surface as shown here. From 4 to 5 eggs are incubated by the female hatch in 14 to 16 days. Both parents feed the young who leave the nest in 17 to 24 days. Two broods may be raised in a breeding season.
During the breeding season, females lose the feathers on their breast and belly and develop a brood patch that enables them to incubate their eggs. After the eggs hatch, the brood patch begins to disappear, wrinkles form, and eventually new feathers grow in.
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