Join BirdNote tomorrow, November 30th!
Illustrator David Sibley and actor H. Jon Benjamin will face off in the bird illustration battle of the century during BirdNote's Year-end Celebration and Auction!
Once nesting season ends, swallows know it's time to party! Whether they nest as single pairs or in large colonies, both adults and juveniles now gather on electrical wires by the dozens, socializing before they migrate. Migrating by day - and foraging for insects as they go - swallows (including this Violet-green Swallow) head south to Mexico and Central and South America.
Swallows on Wires
Written by Frances Wood
This is BirdNote!
[Chatter of Violet-green Swallows]
Once nesting season ends, these Violet-green Swallows seem to know it’s time to party! They usually nest as single pairs in cavities or nesting boxes. But now, they gather on electrical wires by the dozens in the Western United States, and chatter away as part of their pre-migration networking. [Repeat chattering of Violet-green Swallows]
They’re not alone. Tree Swallows often join the Violet-greens, before they all begin their southbound migration to Mexico and Central America. Cliff Swallows may gather the same way. And so will Barn Swallows — not just in North America, but across Europe, and into China too. [Chatter of Barn Swallows]
Birds flock for protection — the more eyes watching, the greater the chance of noticing predators and the harder it is for predators to single out any one bird. Also, birds flock to share information about where to find food.
Migrating by day, swallows forage for insects as they move farther south. When they return in the spring, you won’t see them sitting around on telephone wires. In spring, it’s all business, as the swallows start selecting their sites and building their nests. They'll save all that socializing for the fall.
For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein. [Chatter of Barn Swallows]
Chatter of the Violet-green Swallows provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Recorded by G.A. Keller; Barn Swallow recorded by see BARS -02
Ambient swallow sounds recorded by C. Peterson
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2010 Tune In to Nature.org Sept. 2010 / Sept 2015 / 2020