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A Swallow's Guide to Building Relationships

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

Barn Swallows

Hirundo rustica

Monogamous, polyamorous, extra-pair copulations and mid-air mating are all on the resume of these forked tailed flyers. Barn Swallows may be the most easily identifiable swallows in the world. These aerial insectivores are suited in metallic blue and shades of orange. They are known for graceful gliding, high-speed swoops and defensive dive-bombing. Courtship and mating techniques may include singing, incredible aerial displays, loud twittering, bill touching and preening. Possibly seen as a breeding power couple, Barn Swallows work together to ensure that their chicks have the highest chances of survival. Both parents build the nest, incubate and feed the nestlings. Unpaired, “helper” birds are also known to assist with parental duties (which may also lead to polygamy).

It has been documented that Barn Swallows have a symbiotic relationship with Ospreys. They will built a nest right below an Osprey’s nest and automatically be protected by the bird of prey. In turn, the Osprey learns of any nearby predators when the swallow’s communicate an alarm call. Though these “dine and dashers” eat massive amounts of flying pesky insects, they are sometimes considered pests themselves due to their nesting site preferences, which may include your door or window ledge.

On this day of love, let’s remember the meaningful relationships that Barn Swallows form to help them survive. As humans, we also thrive on significant relationships to help us get through each day. Happy Valentine’s Day. 🐦❤️

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