Fledgling Northern Rough-winged Swallow
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I suspect that many of my readers don’t share my passion for tarantulas. So, after a one-day diversion to exercise my arachnophilia, I’m resuming posting images of other life forms.
The other day, while out for a walk at Sweetwater Wetlands, I noticed several small birds sitting on a wire fence. With one exception, all of them flew as I approached. One bird stayed behind and seemed reluctant to fly. I approached it more closely until I was a scant five feet from the bird and still, it wouldn’t fly. I photographed it and walked on with the bird still on the fence. The bird was a fledgling Northern Rough-winged Swallow.
Northern Rough-winged Swallows are among at least three species of swallows that show up in southeastern Arizona (the other two species commonly seen in this area are Barn and Cliff Swallows). Northern Rough-winged Swallows seem to have a preference for hunting over water and I find them often in parks with ponds or lakes. They are hyperactive little birds, diving and swooping ceaselessly in pursuit of small insects, which they capture on the wing. Like all swallows they are social, showing up in flocks that sometimes number hundreds of birds.
I know from its plumage that the bird that I photographed is a fledgling. Adult Northern Rough-winged Swallows have solid gray plumage on their wings and backs whereas young birds have russet areas mixed in with the gray, as is the case with this individual.
I know also from its behavior that this bird is a fledgling. Fledgling birds are often like small children — naive and less timid around humans than are adults. An adult bird would never have let me approach as closely as this youngster allowed me to do. This little swallow seemed to be genuinely curious about me, as if it had never seen a human up close.
Image made with a Canon 5Div, 100-400 f4.5-5.6 ISII zoom lens, aperture priority setting, ISO 2000, f6.3 @ 1/160.