Birds – The Chimney Swallow

Birds – The Chimney Swallow

The Chimney Swallow

The Chimney Swallow

In this article we will see: “The Chimney Swallow”, birds, diverse and captivating, grace our skies with their melodies. From vibrant plumage to impressive flights, they captivate with endless wonders.

Birds – The Chimney Swallow

Brief Background of: The Chimney Swallow

Description: Length: 20 cm; wingspan: 115-130 mm; tail depth: about 32-49 mm; beak: 11 mm. Weight: 16 to 21 g.

Appearance and Behaviour of: The Chimney Swallow

Adults have a metallic blue-black collar, cheeks, and upperparts. The forehead and throat are reddish-brown, and the underparts are creamy white with a tinge of rust on the lower belly and flanks. The beak, eyes, and legs are black.

Among birds, the swallow occupies a special and exceptional place. It is beloved by many, protected, and considered a good luck symbol. Its return each year is eagerly anticipated and symbolizes the arrival of spring and renewal for many people. Its departure, on the other hand, foreshadows the falling leaves, grayness, and approaching winter.

Respected for thousands of years, the chimney swallow, like the barn swallow, is increasingly affected by modernization. New agricultural buildings, designed solely for profitability, often don’t provide suitable nesting sites for them, and hygiene regulations sometimes discourage their presence in livestock barns.

Are a few droppings here and there, mixed with animal bedding, really more detrimental to milk than the pesticides found in the same environment?

The Chimney Swallow

Everyone is familiar with their aerodynamic shape, their dizzying glides, their short and rapid wingbeats, and their frantic zigzag flights that captivate the eye. Throughout the day, they engage in exhilarating aerial ballets, surpassed only by the common swift. On the ground, where they only land to collect mud for their nests and to rest briefly, they always appear lying on their bellies and move at a measured pace. Their legs are so small that they are always hidden beneath their feathers. Contrary to legend, the chimney swallow takes off from the ground without difficulty, although it prefers to launch from its usual perches.

Food

Chimney swallows feed on small insects caught in flight, which they swallow directly.

The Chimney Swallow's voice sample

The chimney swallow emits a call that sounds like “vitt… vitt… vitt… vivitt…” and can accelerate into a melodious, slightly metallic, and pleasant warble. Talkative by nature, it sings both in flight and when perched, either alone or in the company of others.

Reproductiono of: The Chimney Swallow

The first chimney swallows return from Africa in April. The nest, to which both male and female are deeply attached, is immediately repaired or rebuilt nearby if it was destroyed. The pair carries fresh mud in their beaks, gathered from puddles and “duck ponds.” Mixed with saliva, this cement adheres perfectly to the support and is reinforced with a mortar of soil and straw. The inside of the nest is lined with feathers and horsehair. The nest is attached against a beam, as close to the ceiling as possible, in a barn, stable, or cowshed that allows access and exit at any time, as this species gives way to barn swallows when it comes to nesting on building facades.

The Chimney Swallow’s eggs

The breeding period occurs in May or late April for early-breeding pairs. The clutch consists of four eggs, which have a white background and are speckled and dotted with reddish-brown and mauve-gray, particularly at the blunt end.

They measure about 13 x 19 mm on average and weigh about 2 g. The female alone incubates the eggs for two weeks and must also provide for her own nourishment. Once hatched, the chicks are fed by both adults.

The young chimney swallows leave the nest at around three weeks of age but remain dependent on their parents for a few more days, often returning to the nest to sleep, before the female starts a second brood.

Training platforms

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A final word

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