This birds live in colonies that can consist of anywhere from 10 to 2000 nests… and we have a colony living right here at Glenbow Ranch!
Bank swallows (Riparia riparia) are named for the location of their nests – the sides of eroding banks. The males of the species dig into the side of the bank with its beak, feet and wings to create burrows that can extend almost a meter deep into the earth. At the end of the tunnel, a small chamber is hollowed out, and the female creates a nest made out of grasses and leaves. This unique type of nest keeps the chicks safe from predators and at an even temperature due to the natural insulation of the surrounding earth.
The next time you take a walk down Bownbend Trail, keep an eye out for these extraordinary social birds in the northern hills and ridges!