Cliff Swallows Carry Mud in their Mouths for Nest Building

Cliff Swallows pass through the Lowcountry during migration, but we seldom get to focus on them.  One of the coolest things about traveling is seeing “our birds” in their other homes.  So it was a delight to be in Montana’s Glacier National Park this summer and get a chance to watch this ephemeral visitor in action.

Fluttering in Plain Sight

Like the mountain goats and the marmot, these swallows were right next to busy thoroughfares, with people walking all around.  I was fascinated by the number of people just streaming past the fluttering puddle without noticing what was happening.

Cliff Swallows might not be the best housemates

Of course, not everyone gets such a kick out of them if they are building a nest near (or on) the sides of their houses. Check out this funny post from our friend Monica Graff, describing what it’s like to live with these aerial bombers of mud-balls.

Keep an eye out during Migration

It’s hard to believe, but we are at the beginning of fall migration season.  Tree swallows and chimney swifts have been circling overhead, and the purple martins are long gone.  Watch to see if any of the migrants you see have those buff colored throats.  We had a great time watching them cruise our pond in September one year.

Longer Nature Observation

Here is all the uncut footage linked together.  It should give you a chance to do a little more complicated observations.  Can you tell if pairs are working together?  How much mud can each one fit into their mouths? How close do people need to be to flush them?