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Barn Swallow - Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas Website

Barn Swallow - Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas Website

Barn Swallow - Michigan Breeding Bird Atlas

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) Richard A. Wolinski Oakland Co., MI. June, 2007 © Robert Epstein This species is sponsored by Isaac R. Hunter. The colorful Barn Swallow is the most abundant and widely distributed member of the swallow family in Michigan. The glossy blueblack plumage of the upperparts, reddish-brown forehead and throat, rusty undersides, and deeply forked tail with white spots leave little doubt as to the identity of this species in rural areas of the state. The Barn Swallow is one of the mostly widely distributed swallows in the temperate regions of the world (Rose and Turner 1989, Brown and Brown 1999). In the western hemisphere it is found throughout North America as a breeding species, with its core distribution lying east of the Rocky Mountains in the major agricultural areas from eastern Texas northward to the Upper Great Lakes states and southern Canada. This species retreats to South America during the non-breeding season (Rose and Turner 1989, Brown and Brown 1999). Distribution This species’ historical distribution in Michigan, as reported by Barrows (1912), is not clearly stated though the account indicates wide distribution; whereas Wood (1951) states that the species was a common summer resident and that it was first documented in the state by Sager (Click to view a comparison of Atlas I to II) (1839). Zimmerman and Van Tyne (1959) proclaim the species a common summer resident and rare on Isle Royale. A description given by Payne (1993) is as a common transient and summer resident, more widely distributed in the LP than in the UP. Breeding distribution as shown by MBBA I and MBBA II shows that overall distribution has remained similar between the two survey periods, but occupancy has generally declined about fifteen percent statewide based upon the number of occupied blocks. The ability to confirm nesting for this species at the highest level is high, with a total of 13.5% confirmed blocks. The largest change in terms of the number of unoccupied blocks appears throughout the UP, with Schoolcraft County showing only five blocks at some level of breeding status, down from 21 (76%) during MBBA I (Wolinski 1991). Breeding Biology This swallow is dependent upon two conditions in order to breed successfully, a protected location that offers a good attachment point for the nest and a source of mud for nest construction. The nest is constructed of mud or clay combined with grass or straw, and lined with animal hair or feathers, and fine grasses © 2011 Kalamazoo Nature Center

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