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The Barn Swallow, Hirundo rustica, Nature's Aerial Acrobat (Part Two)


There are more differences between Purple Martins and Barn Swallows...

Iridescent blue-black describes Purple Martin's plumage, while the dress of the Barn Swallow goes more to a rough mix of shiny black topside, with a rusty neck, going to a dirty white belly.

Both arrive early in the year; mid-February for the Martins and early March for the Barn Swallows.

Photographs Lewis Smith

But, the Purple Martins have one brood and they're outtahere by August and headed back to Brazil -- even while the Barn Swallows are into feeding their second brood (all the better to catch more flies!) before heading South.

Barn Swallows are really into the work ethic. Millions of trips to collect mud/caliche for the nest and bugs for the kid's dinner.

All while the Purple Martins are sitting on the telephone line gossiping and watching.

Further, you won't catch a Purple Martin flapping all the time. They're into soaring between strokes.

The Barn Swallow is even short-changed when it comes to societies of admirers and websites. No organization dedicated to the Barn Swallow of course; but definitely not so for the Regal Purple Martins.

However, there's more good information out there for us who admire nature's amazing aerial acrobat.

Photograph John L. Tveten

We recommend:, The Seattle Audubon Society

Good Information about Barn Swallows at New Hampshire Public Television Website

University of Michigan Museum of Zoology- Animal Diversity Web

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

USGS Barn Swallows Page

-- Article by Lewis Smith --

Click here for Part One



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