Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Cliff Dwellers of Pennsylvania - 29 June 2016

In the past, for me, all these swallows did (which I assumed were barn swallows) was make a bunch of ruckus. Until last week, when I decided to 'pay ready attention' to what they were up to. As often happens it turned out to be quite interesting.

At some point they chose this bridge.

Which just happened to include a spot primed to become muddy.

Here is one of the crew checking out the natural resources.

And the work began.

As they came swooping down and collecting mud

for the structure and upkeep of their 'Cliff Dwellings'.

"Will you ever call me a Barn Swallow again?"

Not now that I have been educated and I know that they are Cliff Swallows.

Cliff Swallow
The Cliff Swallow is somewhat similar in appearance to the Barn Swallow. The back, wings, and crown of the adult is a deep blue like the Barn Swallow, but the Cliff Swallow has a light belly, chestnut-colored face, dark throat, and pale gray nape. Three field marks especially useful in distinguishing the Cliff Swallow from the Barn Swallow are the white forehead, buff rump, and short, squared-off tail. The Cliff Swallow also has two white streaks down its back. Juveniles are brown above, buff below, and have varying numbers of small white spots on their foreheads and throats.
Cliff Swallows have tidy, well-constructed nests, formed from balls of mud that they collect in their beaks. Many have adapted to nesting on man-made structures, especially under bridges and freeways. 


  1. Hello, great post and photos of the swallows. They are so darn cute! Enjoy your day and have a happy week ahead!

  2. Wow, I love this, Thank you so much for sharing this nice photos of the cloff swallows.

  3. Hello!:) Well I never! From a distance I would have thought they were Barn Swallows. Thank you for all the info on these lovely Cliff Swallows and your great photos.

  4. I thought barn swallows, too, but only because that is all I have ever seen. Interesting to watch them build.

  5. Fascinating birds and equally fascinating nests they build.

  6. thanks for sharing this information and good shots of the birds and the mud


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