A Sure Sign Spring is Here
Swallows found in Central Oregon: Bank Swallow | Barn Swallow | Cliff Swallow | Northern Rough-winged Swallow | Tree Swallow | Violet-green Swallow
The Cliff Swallows (Hirundo pyrrhonota) are back and busy making a home for the young they plan to raise at Lake Billy Chinook.
RANGE: Breeds from western and central Alaska and central Yukon to northern Ontario, southern Quebec and New Brunswick south to Mexico, southwestern Louisiana, northern portion of the Gulf States and southern North Carolina; also in the Lake Okeechobee region of southern Florida. Winters in South America.
STATUS: Common in the West, locally fairly common in the East; overall populations are stable or increasing in the west.
HABITAT: Originally restricted to the vicinity of cliffs and banks; now occurs over open country around farmlands, towns, bridges, dams, freeway overpasses, and other areas near mud supplies and potential nest sites.
SPECIAL HABITAT REQUIREMENTS: A vertical substrate with an overhang for nest attachment, a supply of mud suitable for nest construction, fresh water with a smooth surface for drinking, and an open foraging area near the nest site. Strongest Oregon nesting habitat association on cliffs, bridges and buildings in urban and rural residential areas, and edges of cropland, pasture, and orchard.
NEST: Originally nested on bluffs, cliffs, deep gorges in mountains, and sometimes on the side of large pine trees and in caves; has adapted to building its gourd-like mud nests under the eaves of, or in, buildings, under bridges, in culverts, on the face of dams, and under freeway overpasses. Forms colonies of up to several hundred nests in favorable locations.
FOOD: Consumes insects caught while flying high, often above 100 feet, as nearly 100 percent of the diet.
IN CENTRAL OREGON: Common spring and fall migrant throughout the region, except in southern Deschutes County the High Cascades. Traditionally arrives late April to mid-May, along with Barn Swallows, but departs much earlier, often by late August. Breeding usually confirmed between early May and late June. Easily found nesting on farm buildings or rimrock near open water and often in large colonies.