Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Barn Swallow flock staging in Oregon

Once again the huge flock of Barn Swallows (which forms every year at this time here in Yamhill County, Oregon) is staging a repeat performance. Current thinking is that this gathering likely represents a significant percentage of the Barn Swallow population of northwestern North America. It's impossible to count so many birds spread over several square miles, but when they come together in a "hurricane" swirl over a large cornfield, and then take an hour to plunge down into it to find a nighttime roost, it becomes obvious that there are several hundred thousand birds involved, and perhaps more than that. The photo shows only a small section of the entire flock, but gives some idea of the spectacle that is repeated here nightly for about a month every fall. (Click on the photo for an enlarged view.)



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