Barn Swallows

Our View From Iowa

Mid- to late summer brings the arrival of barn swallows to our neck of the woods. Jim calls them “flying cigars,” and that’s what they look like. Sleek and swift, they swoop through the air harvesting insects, then taking shelter under the eaves or porch fronts of homes in our neighborhood.

The birds generally favor open areas rather than heavily wooded or urban ones. Farms and suburban locales provide open space for flight, flying insects for food, as well as structures for nesting.

The barn swallow is the most wide-spread of swallows, covering most of the globe. In the western hemisphere it breeds in North America in our summer months, and it spends winters in South America.

They move too fast for us to get good photos at home. We solved that problem, however, when we visited the University of Iowa Natural History Museum last year. The birds were mounted…

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