Cliff Swallows (Huel)

"Cliff Swallow"
“Cliff Swallow”

Monique F. Rea Copyright 2010 

Huel Howser used this drawing of the Cliff Swallow for the video jacket of his,  “Swallows of  Mission San Juan Capistrano” video. The drawing is on the cover of the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society’s new book, “Swallows Legend and Facts,” by Don Tryon.

The drawing is mixed media, watercolor, pen and ink to illustrate a Cliff Swallow at it’s nest colony site.  These special insect eating birds migrate 6,000 plus miles from South America to North America to build their gourd shaped mud nests in order to lay their eggs and raise their Swallow nestlings.  The city of  San Juan Capistrano is one of many locations they return to each year.  The scouts begin to arrive at the end of February in Southern California.  The rest follow soon after.  The Cliff  Swallow species is the only one that builds the mud gourd shaped nest.  It takes hundreds of mud pellets to patiently construct one nest and many, many trips back and forth from their mud source.  They can have 2-3 broods in the season depending on the food supply in the area.  They begin their long journey back to South America beginning in September from San Juan Capistrano.  The further north they are the earlier they begin.  Eating as many bugs, insects for the long journey back.  Always look upon these beautiful birds as beneficial guests to be treated with respect and gratitude.

I have posted a tribute to a Cliff Swallow under the category, “Tribute to Swallows”

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