Monday, May 16, 2016

Swallows in the Wind

On Saturday, 14 May 2016, birders participated in the eBird Global Big Day Count. Twenty to thirty mph winds and temperatures around 36 degrees hampered efforts in Rice County. I was disappointed to end up with a list of only 83 species. But I did enjoy my day.
The south shore of Cannon Lake looked more like the ocean—white caps and a howling north wind. About 80 swallows, all facing the wind, huddled on a parking lot behind a short hedgerow and parked cars. This day was also the fishing season opener—I wonder how many people drowned.
Most of the birds were Barn Swallows (the first two photographs). The birds did not seem under physical stress. The flock would occasionally take to the air, but always returned to the parking lot. They may have been keeping out of the wind, but also may have fed on insects blown through the hedge row or smashed into the cars.
Among the Barn Swallows were a few Cliff Swallows (the third and fourth photos). All the swallows appeared to be cold. So was I. The birds held their wings loose along their sides and most fluffed their feathers. Finally I  listed a Tree (the bird in the last photo) and a couple of Bank swallows. In my next post, I will post photos of Bank Swallows that I found about a mile down the road.

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