You know they have to rest. They can’t go on zig-zagging in the air hunting bugs forever. How can they even catch enough insect fuel to compensate for the energy they expend flying at speeds from 25 to 45 mph with numerous sharp turns? Photographing them in flight is asking for whiplash. But photographing them taking a break is a matter of enormous luck and patience. Photographer Phil Rowntree has been on a roll with swallows — see his “Burrowing Swallow” May 16. This time he caught not one but two Barn Swallows on the fence by the Virginia Street extension on the southeast side of the park. The Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) is a legendary bird that has been keeping company with humans almost worldwide since people started building barn-like structures. Because of its insect diet, farmers and gardeners welcome it, and its annual arrival on migration is the stuff of song and celebration. Around here we haven’t worked up any organized joy yet, but maybe we will one day when we catch on how precious nature is. Meanwhile it remains a mystery where these birds build their cup-shaped mud nests. They must use the hotel or the boat shop or one of their outbuildings, but so far nobody has spotted the birds’ homebuilding labors.
Here’s some additional views of these birds through Phil’s lens: