Dec 172013
 

This late October observation was certainly one of the most incredible things I have every seen. Unfortunately, the pictures in this post are going to be a poor substitute for actually being there in person.

The sky was just beginning to blush with the setting of the sun when the show began. Things started out slow as a handful of Barn Swallows began skimming the surface of the water in search of mosquitoes, midges, and other small insects to feed on.

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Barn Swallow - Sunset

As the sun moved closer to the horizon more and more swallows joined in. It was if the birds were somehow drawn to the area by the dramatic light filtering through the trees. The gorgeous red-orange sky was a perfect backdrop for this spectacle.

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Barn Swallow - Sunset

I came to this place with some preconceived notions about what I was going to see. Earlier in the summer I had the privilege of observing a Purple Martin roost in Garland, Texas. Approximately 30,000 martins filled the sky on each of the two nights I visited the roost—a sight the likes of which I have never seen before.

You can read about these Purple Martin observations here: Purple Martin – Garland Roost and here: Purple Martin – Majesty.

Purple Martins are a close relative of Barn Swallows and I expected a similar show at this location. But I was not prepared for the sheer number of birds I would see on this evening. As the sun set, the sky continued to fill with Barn Swallows until there were easily a 100,000 or more birds flying overhead.

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Barn Swallow - Sunset

Then, as often is the case with things like this, it was suddenly over. Ending as abruptly as it started, the mass of Barn Swallows sdissipated as the birds made their way to the surrounding forest to roost for the night.

The sights you can see observing Dallas/Fort Worth urban wildlife are as good as any in the world if you ask me.

Barn Swallow - Sunset

  4 Responses to “Barn Swallow – Sunset”

  1. Beautiful description and photos of the aggregated, migrating Barn Swallows. Really nice.

  2. Thank you for sharing this amazing natural occurrence and event. I’m doing a project in British Columbia Canada to look for such special places and was wondering if I might be able to email you to discuss further.

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