Five Barn Swallow Chicks

Barn Swallow Nestlings

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.

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8 Responses to Five Barn Swallow Chicks

  1. usermattw says:

    What a fun, funny picture!

    • gingkochris says:

      I laugh each time I look at the picture.Those little guys have already fledged. They come back at night and sit on the eaves. Meanwhile, the parents are busy beginning a second brood in the nest.

  2. tonytomeo says:

    They are like bats who are out during the day. Do they eat mosquitoes? They do not seem to be active in the evening. The mosquitoes seem to be gone by the time the bats come out; but I know the bats must know what they are doing.

    • gingkochris says:

      I believe the parents are feeding the chicks mosquitoes, among other insects. There are so many mosquitoes around our house this year – early morning to late at night. The barn swallow parents are working hard to feed their brood. They CONTINUOUSLY fly back and forth with food from before sunrise to after sunset. I get exhausted just watching them.

      • tonytomeo says:

        So, mosquitoes are active while the swallows are active? The swallows fly around like bats, as if they are catching the same mosquitoes that bats catch a few hours later. I suppose that they must know what they are doing too.

      • gingkochris says:

        Yes, the swallows and mosquitoes are active at the same time.

  3. Deanna Jarvie says:

    Cute little hungry babies.

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