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The Cliff Swallow - A Miracle Bird

Article and photos by Kathryn Mann

There are several colonies of Cliff Swallows that reside in Bartlesville from April through the end of August. The rest of the year these birds live in South America. They live in colonies and build magnificent nests from mud pellets that are usually located under bridges or the eaves of buildings. Local colonies can often contain more than 200 birds.

Cliff Swallow close-up
Cliff Swallow near the Pathfinder Pathway in Bartlesville, Oklahoma

Cliff Swallows are about 5 inches long and have a tiny bill. They have an iridescent blue black crown and their forehead is white or yellow brown. Their wings and tail are brown while their rump is yellow brown. They have a square-ended tail which makes them easier to distinguish from Barn Swallows and Purple Martins which otherwise look very similar. Their legs and feet are gray.

Cliff Swallow in nest
Cliff Swallow looking at me from its nest

Cliff Swallows feed off insects which they eat and capture in flight.

Cliff Swallows typically can live up to six years.

Cliff Swallow nests
These are Cliff Swallow nests. They are gregarious birds and build their nests in colonies. 

Cliff swallow nests are usually close to rivers or other bodies of water because the mud near the embankments are ideal for their nests. Their nests are lined with grass.

Cliff Swallows are the “miracle” swallows that return on March 19th each year to the Mission San Juan Capistrano in California.

 
 

Comments:

Valentin      1:16 PM Sat 1/2/2016

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Mick Fullingim      10:25 AM Mon 4/13/2015

I have a small bird that wants to build on a small ledge of my pourch. Not a Swallow, more like a Titmouse. What is it. I live in Antlers,OK.
 

kenneth johnston      6:35 PM Mon 8/4/2014

I have a cabin on a farm near Fort Cobb Lake in Caddo County, Okla. The Swallows are absolutely wonderful. They soar every weekend in the summer when I am there. They perform like jets around my trees and flagpoles and they build their wonderful mud castles around the eves of my cabin. Thank you so much for helping me identify them. I hope they came back every year for the rest of my life. Ken Johnston
 

santhosh.a.v      3:39 AM Sat 10/26/2013


It’s very nice and surprising to me because nearly I saw a nest in my housing roof. till I dint see this type nest any were in kerala. it’s my immense pleasure to inform you to the website creator.


 


Uplifting Visions
a guide to happiness, good health, and success
Charly Mann in a Hawaiian shirt
by Charly Mann

From the age of seven I have been enchanted with the idea of living happily ever after, and have made it a life quest to find that answer. I have spoken to hundreds of people – usually older and wiser than me, and read countless books and articles on the subject. In my website Uplifting Visions I share what I consider the best insights I have learned about achieving happiness in life.



Oklahoma Birds Listed by Color

Red
House Finch - male (carpodacus mexicanus)
Purple Finch - male (carpodacus purpureus)
Northern Cardinal - male (cardinalis cardinalis)
Painted Bunting - male (passerina ciris)
Summer Tanager - male (piranga rubra)

Orange
Baltimore Oriole - male (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - male (icterus spurius)

Yellow
Yellow Warbler (dendroica petechia )
Baltimore Oriole - female (icterus galbula)
Orchard Oriole - female (icterus spurius)
Summer Tanager - female (piranga rubra)
Yellow Goldfinch - male (carduelis tristis)
Western Kingbird (tyrannus verticalis)
Eastern Meadowlark (sturnella magna)

Green
Malard - male (anas platyrhynchos)
Dark-eyed Junco - female (junco hyemalis)
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (archilochus colubris)
Painted Bunting - female (passerina ciris)
Green Heron (butorides virescens)

Blue
Barn Swallow (hirundo rustica)
Belted Kingfisher (ceryle alcyon)
Blue Jay (cyanocitta cristata)
Blue Grosbeak - male (guiraca caerulea)
Eastern Bluebird (sailia sialis)
Indigo Bunting - male (passerina cyanea)
Purple Martin - male (progne subis)

Grey
Great Blue Heron (ardea herodias)
Carolina Chickadee (poecile carolinensis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Red-breasted Nuthatch (sitta canadensis)
Grey Catbird (dumetella carolinensis)
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (regulus calendula)
Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher (tyrannus forficatus)
White-breasted Nuthatch (sitta carolinensis)
Tufted Titmouse (baelophus bicolor)
American Robin (turdus migratorius)
Northern Mockingbird (mimus polyglottos)
Mississippi Kite (ictinia mississippiensis)
Dickcissel (spiza americana)

Black
American Crow (corvus brachyrhynchos)
Brown-headed Cowbird - male (molothrus ater)
European Starling (sturnus vulgaris)
Common Grackle (quiscalus quiscula)
Red-winged Blackbird - male (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Towhee (pipilo maculatus)
Turkey Vulture (cathartes aura)

Black & White
American Bald Eagle (haliaeetus leucocephalus)
Black-billed Magpie (pica hudsonia)
Downey Woodpecker (picoides pubescens)
Red-Bellied Woodpecker (melanerpes carolinus)
Purple Martin - female (progne subis)
Eastern Kingbird (tyrannus tyrannus)
Dark-eyed Junco - male (junco hyemalis)
Loggerhead Shrike (lanius ludovicianus)

Brown
American Kestrel (falco sparverius)
Blue Grosbeak - female (guiraca caerulea)
Brown-headed Cowbird - female (molothrus ater)
Brown Thrasher (toxostoma rufum)
Common Nighthawk (chordeiles minor)
Carolina Wren (thryothorus ludovicianus)
Cedar Waxwing (bombycilla cedrorum)
Greater Roadrunner (geococcyx californianus)
Killdeer (charadrius vociferus)
Northern Bobwhite (colinus virginianus)
Red-tailed Hawk (buteo jamaicensis)
Cliff Swallow (petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Horned Lark (eremophila alpestris)
House Finch - female (carpodacus mexicanus)
Northern Flicker (colaptes auratus)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (coccyzus americanus)
Mourning Dove (zenaida macroura)
Malard - female (anas platyrhynchos)
Purple Finch - female (carpodacus purpureus)
House Sparrow (passer domesticus)
Indigo Bunting - female (passerina cyanea)
Red-winged Blackbird - female (agelaius phoeniceus)
Spotted Sandpiper (actitis macularia)
Upland Sandpiper (bartramia longicauda)
Northern Cardinal - female (cardinalis cardinalis)
Eastern Screech-Owl (otus asio)
Yellow Goldfinch - female (carduelis tristis)
Canada Goose (branta canadensis)

Various
Wild Birds of Northeast OK

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