Parental Care in the Blink of an Eye
Very early this morning, just as a blanket of heavy fog was burning off the landscape, I had an opportunity to watch as a barn swallow fed one of her young birds. From what I could tell, the other nest mates were able to fend for themselves. Apparently the smallest of the group could fly, sort of, but not well enough to catch insects to feed itself. That was when parent birds swooped in to provide numerous insect morsels to the hungry little bird.
My camera shoots ten frames per second and the entire feeding process lasted only long enough for three or four frames to capture the parent bird with the younger bird. My math tells me the sharing of nutrition lasts less than one-half second each time the parent bird flies in, feeds the little one, and is gone again in search of another insect.
Following are images of the young bird being fed by a mature bird. I will also share a picture of the adult bird when it rested on a barbed-wire fence near its offspring.
Included in the many swallows this morning was this lone cliff swallow.
Not only was I able to watch barn swallows feed their young, but I also watched as a hen turkey guided her youngster into cover when a vehicle approached.
Wildflowers enjoyed today were common plant species near pollinator habitat – purple coneflower and prairie coneflower.