Friday, September 04, 2009

Barn Swallow morning flyout

This morning I arrived on Grand Island (in Yamhill Co. on the west side of the Willamette River) at about 6:05 a.m. I wanted to see the exodus of the huge flock of Barn Swallows that I had watched going to roost in the cornfields at dusk the evening before.

Because of the low light it was difficult to see the action very clearly, but I could see successive waves of many thousands of birds taking off out of the standing corn, and rising quickly until they were almost out of sight against the lightening clouds overhead.

But it was not difficult to hear them! The volume of their collective chattering was remarkable, and I think any person standing there (birder or not) would have instinctively looked up to see what was going over.

I recorded a short video, not for the visual images, but hoping to record something of the sound. If you turn up the volume on your speakers, I think you will hear it here:


At 8:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been searching the web for information on swallow migration because there are hundreds of swallows roosting in my chimney right now! It is truly an amazing sight to watch them arrive in the evenings. A huge swirling vortex of birds descending into the chimney with perfect precision and order. Since it's raining this morning they are still in the chimney. I can hear them chirping right now.
I'm assuming that they have gathered here in preparation for migration. I'd really like to know more about the whole migration process. Where have they gathered from? Have they already begun their migration from farther north?

At 9:36 AM, Blogger FS said...

Thanks for your comment, and your description of the birds in your chimney. Actually, it's very unlikely that your birds are swallows, since they are not known to enter chimneys. What you have are almost certainly Swifts, and there are two species in the U.S. that commonly nest in chimneys, and then roost there in flocks during migration. Chimney Swifts in the e. US; Vaux's Swifts in the west.


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