Swallow Tales

3 May

Be sure to visit i and the Bird’s latest edition! It’s a fantastic job (as always). And I’m not just saying that because he said nice things about my hummingbird picture! 🙂

Yesterday, in comments on her blog, I promised Mary I’d take pictures of our Cliff Swallows here. They are so busy and active right now. Everytime I go out of the building at school, I hear their murbling calls and see them swooping around in the sky. Wonderful things.

I woke up to rain today and that kept most of the birds quiet. I only saw 1 raven at school today. The swallows were there but they were not out and about. They were huddled in their nests looking at the crazy woman taking pictures of them. I got some very suspicious looks from these moms and dads.

Cliff Swallows in Nest

“Oh God, can’t a girl nest in peace without the paparazzi sticking a camera in her face?”


Cliff Swallows in Nest

“George! George! She’s back! That woman with the camera! She’s back!”


Cliff Swallows in Nest

I could not resist this shot. Clearly not a bird troubled by loud noises. I’d imagine that these birds spend a fair amount of time saying, “What? What was that?”



Cliff Swallows in Nest

“See George. I told you. She’s just there staring at us with that camera!”
“Go away! Shoo! Scat!”


Cliff Swallows in Nest

This is just one of the colonies on this building. It’s very high up (two stories and an attic).

I thought I’d end up the day with just some video of the swallows in their nests because they make the most amazing murbling noises. Yes, I just made that word up — it’s just what they sound like though. So, I went and stood under the nest where two birds were staring at me, turned on the video feature, and . . . silence. They were looking at me like, “Yea right! Now, we’re supposed to sing for you? I don’t think so!”

Cliff Swallows in Nest

Yea, I’ve got a way with the birds! To learn more about Cliff Swallows and hear their sounds (not the murbling, but their flying around eating bugs and happy because its not raining sounds) go to All About Birds {click}.



Follow-up post — More Swallows {click}

10 Responses to “Swallow Tales”

  1. robin andrea 3 May, 2007 at 6:30 am #

    Those cliff swallows are so cute. I can’t believe how many nests you have there! On one of the walks we take the cliff swallows dip and swoop all day along. They definitely murble– great word!

  2. Mary 3 May, 2007 at 7:38 am #

    Liza, THANK YOU! I completely enjoyed this post and I’m amazed to see their nests. I wonder if they break down or fall. Didn’t you enjoy them playing peek-a-boo? LOL!

    And you are right, they do murble. One day I hope to see a cliff swallow. When I do, I’ll think of you. Murble.

  3. Greg Laden 3 May, 2007 at 8:12 am #

    It IS an incredible picture. All my humingbird pictures look like this:

    (not much to see)

  4. Lynne from Hasty Brook 3 May, 2007 at 10:18 am #

    I love your pictures and the funny captions too! LOL!

  5. jayne 3 May, 2007 at 1:09 pm #

    Oh, how very cool Liza! I’ve never seen them in a colony on a building like that (Ok, or the swallows themselves!) Don’t they prefer cliffs…lol? (Very funny captions girl!) ;c)

  6. Laura 3 May, 2007 at 6:17 pm #

    Are their nests made of little balls of mud or what? And why the pretty glittery colors around the entrance? So cool!

    You got lots of suspicious looks – swallow disapproval!

  7. susangetsnative 3 May, 2007 at 7:39 pm #

    Love their sweet little faces!
    Murbling. I am SO going to start using that word on a regular basis.

  8. lizalee 4 May, 2007 at 5:27 am #

    Thanks for enjoying them! Their disapproval was painful but I did survive. 🙂 Laura, they do make their nests out of balls of mud. The colors around the entrance where clearly new material they’d added this year — they reuse the nests year after year. They didn’t show up different colors and glittery until I used flash. We work at an elementary school — it’s possible they found some mud where someone rinsed off some paint brushes with glittery glue or something. I don’t know.

    Their nests are very strong — the usually find some architectural feature (like the ones with the bolts above) and start building at that point. Some nests are abandoned or never finished and I’d imagine that the instinctive engineers that they are realize there is a structural flaw in that particular nest.

    A lot of area homeowners hate these birds because of the mess. They build their nests in your eaves and then poop down the side of your house. I can see their point but I’d find a way to deal with it, I think. Just for their mosquito eating abilities alone! 🙂

  9. Laura 4 May, 2007 at 5:47 pm #

    Maybe it’s their saliva that glitters.



  1. Via Negativa » Blog Archive » I and the Bird 49: the Wordchaser - 17 May, 2007

    […] They make the most amazing murbling noises […]

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