Several swallows do indeed make a spring


Although I’m not sure what my area of particular photographic expertise is, I do know that it is NOT birds … especially ones in flight. Yesterday, however, during morning chores, I became aware of a Barn Swallow behavior that I thought might allow me to photograph these delicate birds in flight. There are perhaps five or six nests in the rafters of the barn and I had noticed that each time I rolled open the great wooden doors all of the adults would fly from their nests and make their way out through the large door on the opposite wall. They would vocalize loudly as they circled back into the barn, around, and out the rear door once again. This behavior repeated until I left. I’m guessing this is alarm behavior intended to distract  my attentions (or those of a would-be predator) from the nests nearby. I went back to the house and returned with my camera. The birds were swooping chaotically so my only hope was to push the ISO, up the shutter speed, and fix the focus on a particular spot in the opening to the outside. As the birds swooped by I would press the shutter release without trying to track individual flight paths or to compose. I liked the results.


24 thoughts on “Several swallows do indeed make a spring

  1. You may not bill yourself as a wildlife photographer, but I do think you are indeed a nature photographer. Even if you take photos of tractors or barns, nature’s influence on or interaction with man-made objects is always first and foremost … and the biology/evolution-themed commentary is the perfect complement. Thanks for focusing your lens on my favorite kind of animal!

    • Thank you very much for all of the attention. I love seeing your Gravatar in my comments section … it always gives me a boost. I’ve got some Scraggy images in the works, so stay tuned. D

    • Thanks. I replied to another comment that I’m not a wildlife photographer. Now, there’s a genre that really requires some really good and really expensive equipment. My images are pretty, I suppose, but not the best. But, as I say, I’m not a wildlife photographer. What sort of photographer would you say I am? I have no idea what my area of expertise is … do you? D

    • Thanks. I know that they’re not nearly as good as they could be … but this is a case where equipment really does make the difference between a pleasing image and a really terrific one. I don’t see myself as a wildlife photographer … so I’ll leave that to others. Thanks for all of your thoughtful comments this morning (or is it evening?). D

  2. Capturing birds in flight evokes the ancient hunter’s instinct. You need a plan, skill and above all great patience.
    Oh, and there’s also he thrill of the capture 🙂 Nicely done! As I read this on this mild foggy, rainy morning the living room next to me is fully open. From the woods nearby I can hear the songs of at least 4 different species of birds (guessing starlings, robins, jays, crows and maybe swallows – they sound like a lot of other birds so its hard to tell) as they sing just above the chorus of steadily falling rain; a nice sound-track for your post. Within few weeks or so the humpbacks will hopefully be swimming north along our shores here and, if time permits, I shall do something similar – visit Signal Hill or Cape Spear, then set up the camera with a telephoto on a tripod and wait in hope. I’ve done it before and generally gone home empty handed – the ocean is so large that the chances of the lens being in the right place are not great.

  3. I like the photos a lot, too! The first detail that I noticed was that the birds look so .. serious? (I blame your sheep – now I always look at animals’ faces and try to find out what they think.) I expected swallows to have more fun probably because of their way of flying! 🙂 Are swallows considered lucky charms in the US, too?

    • It’s funny that Maurice seems to agree with you … he observed that these birds look ‘stern.’ When I first began this blog I wrote a series of posts which discussed the nature of different sorts of livestock … I believe that I characterized sheep as ‘low wattage bulbs,’ they’re not all that bright! I do not know whether Swallows are considered to be good luck … but if you say so, I believe it! D

      • Unfortunately I cannot confirm or falsify the ‘luck theory’ – so far swallows had never considered out house or shed worthy of building their nests here 🙂 If I understood folklore right, you need the nest to get lucky!

        • ! … I think the one time I got in the biggest trouble with Joanna was when I removed a swallow’s nest from our barn. A breeding pair had set their nest right above one of the watering troughs and when the little ones dumped their wastes (metabolic and otherwise) over the side of the nest (before they could fly) it dropped right into the water! What a mess. So, I waited until the babies had fledged from the nest and then I REMOVED IT from where it had been securely anchored! OMG did she get MAD … I know NEVER to do that EVER AGAIN! Yikes. D

            • Yes … doomed to a life of bad luck! There are so many nests in the barns! And, you’ll be glad to know, the mating pair established the nest in the original spot the following year … and, yes, I then moved the trough! D

  4. Pretty good for beginner’s luck! Looks like you had a gorgeous day for picture taking! Dropped off a pot of geraniums to H today. I do it every spring and forgot it this year! Couldn’t leave without trimming back the dead wood on her hydrangeas. Why do I feel compelled to trim everyone’s bushes?

    • You’re more than welcome to come on out to the Farm and take care of business … there’s no end (literally) to the weeding and mulching that needs to be done. D

      • Tell me about it! And I have only a fraction of the land you do. I can’t go outside without pulling weeds or clipping off a dead branch! I am a sweaty mess within minutes.

        • This is one of the reasons we’re thinking of changing venues … keeping our heads above water here is more than a full-time job … and we’d like to be turning our attentions to other things. Soon … we hope.

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