Check Out Our Advertisers!
     None  Accounting/Bookkeeping
     None  Attorney - Lawyer
     None  Auto
     None  Automotive Dealerships
     None  Aviation
     None  Banks and Credit Unions
     None  Barns and Steel Buildings
     None  Blacksmith
     None  Cable TV
     None  Carpet Cleaning
     None  Chamber of Commerce
     None  Chiropractic Care
     None  Churches
     None  Computer Services
     None  Dentist
     None  Dry Cleaning
     None  Dryer Vent Cleaning & Repair
     None  Drywall
     None  Electric utility
     None  Electrician
     None  Equine Services
     None  Equipment Rental
     None  Excavating
     None  Eye Care
     None  Feed Stores
     None  Field Mowing
     None  Financial Services
     None  Firearms
     None  Flooring
     None  Florist
     None  Funeral Home
     None  Garage Doors
     None  Golf Courses
     None  Hair/Nail Care and Cosmetics
     None  Health Care Facilities and Services
     None  Health Care
     None  Heating and Cooling
     None  Home Inspector
     None  Home Maintenance
     None  House Cleaning
     None  Insurance
     None  Internet Service
     None  Jewelry
     None  Landscaping
     None  Lawn Care
     None  Mortgage
     None  Movers
     None  Music Lessons
     None  Painting - Interior/Exterior
     None  Paving/Asphalt
     None  Pet Grooming
     None  Pet Sitter
     None  Photography
     None  Plumbing
     None  Portable Buildings
     None  Propane Delivery
     None  Propane
     None  Racing - Cars
     None  Real Estate Services
     None  Restaurants
     None  Roofing
     None  Schools
     None  Senior Citizens Services
     None  Sewing - lessons, supplies
     None  Sheds, Outbuildings
     None  Shipping Services
     None  Small Engine Repair
     None  Specialty/Gifts
     None  Storage
     None  Tax Preparation
     None  Tires
     None  Tractor, Trailer and RV Sales
     None  Trash Service
     None  Veterinarian
     None  Window Replacement
     None  Windshield Repair


 
“My mother said I must always be intolerant of ignorance but understanding of illiteracy. That some people, unable to go to school, were more educated and more intelligent than college professors.”
– Maya Angelou  
Contact Us | Advertise | Classified Ad | News Stands | Subscribe  

  Volume No. 14 Issue No. 8 August 2017  

None
None Adopt Me   None Black Forest News   None Book Review   None Business Briefs  
None Community Calendar   None Did You Know?   None FFPD Column   None FFPD News  
None From the Publisher   None Health and Wellness   None Letters to the Editor   None Marks Meanderings  
None Monkey Business   None News Briefs   None News From D 49   None Pet Care  
None Phun Photos   None Prairie Life   None Rumors  
None
Front Page   |   Feature Stories   |   Search This Issue   |   Log In
None
 
  The swallows of Radford Ranch
  By Bill Radford

   Longtime local journalist Bill Radford and his wife, Margaret, live on 5 acres in the Falcon area with ducks, chickens, rabbits, dogs, cats, two noisy parrots, goats, a horse and a blind mule. Contact Bill at billradford3@gmail.com.
   

   We've had unexpected but welcome guests for the summer - a pair of swallows that built a nest on the south of our house under the eaves.
   
   They appear to be cliff swallows, known for their gourd-shaped mud nests. It's the first summer in our four here that we've had swallows, and it was fascinating to watch them build their nest, one beak-full of mud at a time. We have just the one nest, but a neighbor's house has attracted dozens, if not hundreds; that house is stuccoed, which presumably provides a better surface for nest-building than our siding. We were worried the nest on our house would slide off, but it has held steady. (My wife wants me to build some type of hammock under the nest to catch any babies that fall out.)
   
   We also wonder if our pair of swallows are oddly anti-social, since cliff swallows typically live in large colonies, as in our neighbor's case. Charles and Mary Brown's "Birds of North America" calls the cliff swallow one of the most social land-birds of North America; a single site may contain thousands of nests. Barn swallows, on the other hand, are typically solitary as they nest. Their nests also differ in appearance: cup-shaped rather than gourd-shaped. Barn swallows are also known for their long, deeply forked tails; cliff swallows have square tails. (North America is home to nine species of swallows; six of them, including the cliff and barn swallows, breed regularly in Colorado, according to the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.)
   
   Our neighborhood swallows presumably get their mud from a pond about a mile away; a nest contains 900 to 1,200 mud pellets, according to AllAboutBirds.org. That's a lot of trips to build a nest, but cliff swallows are hardy; think of the distance they travel to get here from their winter homes in South America.
   
   Cliff swallows apparently believe in gender equality; both sexes help build the nest and both sexes help incubate the female's eggs.
   
   Cliff swallows historically inhabited open canyons, foothills, escarpments and river valleys that offered a vertical cliff face for nest attachment, according to the Cliff Swallow Project. Thanks to the rise of manmade structures such as bridges and buildings that provide nesting sites, the swallows are now found in a wide variety of habitats. The Clift Swallow Project states that most colony sites are near open fields or pastures where the birds forage.
   
   The Cliff Swallow Project (cliffswallow.org) is touted as one of the longest-running field studies of birds in North America. Barn swallows also have a spot on the scientific stage with the Barn Swallow Project (barnswallowproject.com) out of the University of Colorado at Boulder; researchers there are studying "population divergence" in six subspecies of barn swallows, as they tackle a fundamental biological question: What processes lead to the formation of new species?
   
   The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service notes the good and the bad of swallows. Cliff and barn swallows provide "an ecological service" as insect controllers, consuming swarming insects; including wasps, flies, grasshoppers and more. (The sky over our neighbor's place is filled each evening with a swirling mass of swallows, presumably chasing down their dinner.) On the other hand, those large cliff swallow colonies can be quite messy, producing a great amount of bird droppings.
   
   Be warned that cliff and barn swallows are state and federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. Active nests with eggs or chicks inside may not be touched or destroyed without a permit from the Fish and Wildlife Service.
   
   Swallows return to their nesting sites year after year, though some old nests may require some repair work. The famed swallows of Capistrano, known for their arrival each March at Mission San Juan Capistrano in California, are cliff swallows. We're hoping the swallows of Radford Ranch make their return each year as well.
  
Bill Radford and his rooster Photo by Margaret Radford
 
Cliff swallows are known for their gourd-shaped mud nests. They build their nests one beak-full of mud at a time. Photo by Bill Radford
 
Facebook print this page      


  © 2004-2017 The New Falcon Herald. All rights reserved. . About | Contact | Advertise | News Stands | Privacy Policy