Northern Rough-winged Swallow

Hey guys, welcome back! Before we start, let me apologize for there being no photos today. As i’ve stated before, all the photos I use in my blog are mine. Taken by yours truly. And sometimes I either can’t get a good look at a bird, or just don’t have my camera when I see them. In the case of today’s bird, it’s the former. Swallows are very fast fliers that typically fly low and fast over either water or open fields, constantly flapping looking almost like bats. They don’t too often land, and therefore can be quite difficult to photograph, unless you’re lucky enough to be near a roosting spot.

Despite this (or more likely because of this), I love watching swallows fly around. Swallows have wide, flat bills that make it easier to catch insects while flying around. The Northern Rough-winged Swallow is perhaps the drabbest, least colorful of the North American swallows; they’re a medium brown above, and light brown, almost white underneath. They get their name from the fact that their primary feathers are rough to the touch due to tiny hooks on the leading edge of the feathers. Drab birds usually are harder to identify because they lack that extra flash of color. But with the Northern Rough-winged Swallow, its drabness has the opposite effect! Most swallows are some sort of bright, glossy or iridescent color, so seeing one that isn’t actually makes it stand out more. Granted, there’s other drab swallows (looking at you Bank Swallow), but we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, lol.

Northern Rough-winged Swallows are common throughout the U.S. in the summer time. Their range extends to southern Canada, and they spend their winters in Central America. I haven’t seen many here in Missouri, but I did often see them flying around Central Park’s Reservoir and Harlem Meer, sometimes in swarms and usually mixed with Barn and/or Tree Swallows. Next up, we have another swallow; my favorite swallow species; the Tree Swallow, and I’ll have pics for you all then too! See you all then!

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