I am enjoying visits from a pair of Violet Green Swallows as they perch on our deck railing above their nest box. Their presence always makes me smile and I hope the aerial insect population is healthy this year. Therefore it was timely when this came into my inbox recently. Thanks to Kerry (kj finley) an IBA caretaker for Roberts Bay Shoal Harbour Migratory Bird Sanctuary. GM
26 May, 2021
Rough-winged Swallows are so-called because the leading edge of their primary feathers have hooks and projections, the purpose of which is unknown.
Yesterday was a spectacular day in North Saanich with towering cumulus after a refreshing and welcome light rain. These conditions evidently gave rise to a large release of aerial insects which attracted a considerable flock consisting of all three species of swallows over my field and over the Garry Oak copse.
I estimated that there were about 35 at one time, most Violet-green, two Barn Swallows and two Rough-winged Swallows. I spent much of an enjoyable afternoon watching them with their spectacular movements and grace. Each of them seems to have their particular maneuver but the Rough-wing seemed to me to have the edge on grace.
There is a world of difference between here on the farm and Roberts Bay, just 2 km away. Seldom do the swallows ever appear around the bay; their prime habitat is the fields and Garry Oak meadows of North Saanich, as well as the snags and deadwood that provide them ( Violet-greens ) nest cavities. All the swallows are on the decline thought to be due to the loss of aerial insects. It was really interesting to watch the mixed feeding flock shift from a position over my house to just above the Garry Oak canopy, shifting back and forth in their foraging patterns.
With the towering cumulus, backlit, the grace of the swallows against them, and the towering Garry Oaks, it was heaven on earth.
Birds are essential to human health and well-being.