Five chicks are in the barn swallow (Hirundo rustica) nest under the eaves of our back porch (near Lookout CA – Modoc Count)y. Every year we host barn swallows and usually three nestlings fledge. This is our largest clutch ever.
Barn swallows, cobalt blue above and tawny below, have long, deeply-forked tails. Both parents build the nest cup from mud pellets. The nest is lined first with grass and then feathers. Our horses also contribute horsehair to the barn swallow nests.
There are 3 to 7 eggs (whitish with brownish spots) in a clutch. Both sexes incubate the eggs, with the female assuming more of the responsibility. After 13 to 17 days the eggs hatch. The chicks are naked with closed eyes when born. Both parents feed the young until they fledge 18 to 23 days after hatching.
The barn swallows diet is mainly flying insects.
The barn swallows make a big mess with their mud and guano on our back porch. However, Leonard and I enjoy watching the barn swallow family grow. In addition, I keep hoping that this large family is reducing the mosquito population. So we happily tolerate the mud and guano. The litter can all be washed away once the barn swallows leave in the fall.