Date: 5/5/17 9:35 am From: Don Simons <Don.Simons...> Subject: Barn Swallows
The Lodge at Mount Magazine opened 11 years ago. A pair of barn swallows constructed a nest high up in a carefully selected nook before major construction on the complex was completed. Today, I circumnavigated the site to count nests. I tallied 36 nests under construction. Since there are two adults for each nest, then there are 72 swallows present.
I watched swallows gathering mud and grass above the parking lot. Flying to their selected crannies they kneaded the mud with their trowel-like mandibles as they slowly spit material into neat layers. Some nests show different shades of mud from past years.
Also taking advantage of the complex are northern rough-winged swallow and eastern phoebes. The brown swallows nest in gaps between large blocky boulders that make up the northern wall of the parking lot.
I found two phoebe nests. One had at least one begging nestling. Last year, this nest was parasitized by a cowbird. I suspect it has happened again; the one chick I could see might have out grown its nestmates. The other phoebe nest had an adult probably incubating eggs or young hatchlings.
These surveys will be conducted once every week until the swallows are finished nesting for the season. They make easy guided bird walks during which people can observe the life cycle of nesting birds without disturbing them.
Don R. Simons, Park Interpreter
Certified Heritage Interpreter
Mount Magazine State Park
16878 HWY 309 South
Paris, AR 72855