[Tweeters] Cliff Swallow Nest Abandonment

Joy Markgraf joymarkgraf at gorge.net
Wed Jul 13 13:16:01 PDT 2005

Hi Steve and All:

Close to fifteen years ago we had swallows that built mud nests under 
the eaves of our house. For several years they nested there but then 
one year (?)
I began getting horrible bites from some bugs at night. The areas on my 
skin that had been bitten became extremely painful and swollen. I 
searched the room for the culprits and found one on the wall that 
resembled a bed bug. More searching located many on the OUTSIDE of the 
window screen above my bed. So I searched the outside of the house and 
found hoards of these creatures around the swallow nests! The tiny 
swallow nestling's were covered with them. That year the swallows left 
and have never returned. I scrubbed down the house and have never had 
these bugs again. Maybe the farmer should look more closely at the 
nests for bugs.

Joy Stickney-Markgraf
near White Salmon WA
email: joymarkgraf at gorge.net

On Jul 13, 2005, at 11:46 AM, Steve Ellis wrote:

> A farmer on north Whidbey Island called to say the entire flock of 
> swallows
> that usually nest on his barn and outbuildings abandoned the colony in 
> the
> space of 2 days. He reported finding eggs in many of the nests though 
> he
> thought them to be thinner than a normal egg. Sometimes (at least here 
> on
> Whidbey) Cliff Swallows use an inferior mud that causes the nests to 
> break
> apart. This isn't the case here. What would cause all of them to pull 
> out
> after going so far as to lay eggs? He's very concerned there may be 
> some
> pollutant or other that caused this and has saved some of the eggs. Is 
> it
> likely the prey base ie. flying insects just couldn't support a colony 
> this
> year? Answers? Theories? Guesses?
> Steve Ellis
> WIWA Ssp. CO
> (Whidbey Island Washington, subspecies Coupeville)
> _______________________________________________

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