Swallows nest


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In order to build a nest, a swallow needs a vertical surface. She finds wet ground in puddles, rolls it into balls and brings it in its beak to the chosen place, attaching it to the nest with her own saliva. For strength, the swallow can strengthen the construction with straws, hair, stalks. The construction is purely mechanical, always on the same principle. Once in the new conditions, the swallow is lost and cannot adapt to them (for example, it cannot build a nest if there is no vertical surface).

One of the most suitable places for nesting is the walls of buildings along the eaves, under the roofs and skates of houses, under the supports of bridges. The swallow tries to choose a place convenient for departure and at the same time being under the roof so that the building does not soak from the rain, and the chicks are under protection. The reason why the swallows choose the nesting places of the city is simple - there is a lot of food for them. They are happy to destroy hundreds and thousands of mosquitoes, black flies and flies in a day.

According to popular belief, swallow nests on the wall of the house - fortunately. However, not all residents of the houses agree on such a neighborhood and try to expel the swallows from the chosen place. In fact, it is quite difficult, due to the instinctive binding to the place.

Famous Russian naturalist V.A. Wagner conducted experiments in which he outweighed the nests of swallows for a short distance, and in front of his parents. Swallows for a long time looking for their nest in the place where it was built, were even ready to feed other chicks. The scientist concluded that the place where the nest was built is very important for the swallows - even more important than the nest itself and the chicks. Therefore, the simple destruction of the nest will lead nowhere; the swallows will simply build a new one. The only way to scare birds away is to make walls slippery so that lumps of dirt cannot be fixed.

The first heralds of spring

About the birds arriving in the spring, talk back to school. Spring birds arrive in small flocks, and finches appear first. If you get closer to the finch, you can see how beautiful the bird is: what tones it does not cast feathers! And green, and red, and brown, and on the head there is a blue “cap”. From a distance, the finch is visible on the white stripes on the wings and back.

After the finches, the blackbirds arrive, and in Russia, in the middle lane, the rooks are considered the first birds. Then in the parks you can find charred, redstart and varakushek. These birds are distinguished by a bright color of feathers, for example, there are blue breasts in varakushka, and in feathers feathers of all colors are red, blue, greenish, and even red.

Each bird tries to return to its old nest. Swallows arriving in April are no exception. Swallows Russian people love and respect. Many signs are associated with them. For example, if a swallow flies low above the ground, it means it will soon rain. People try to protect swallows' nest until the next spring.

Birds and their nests

A surprising fact, but the birds are capable of building the most ambitious structures. But how much do we humans know which bird has which nest?

Places arranged by birds for laying eggs, differ from each other, and sometimes very dramatically. But all kinds of bird nests can be divided by their location:

  1. Ground nests. They are built mostly from grass, leaves and small knots. In Russia, in the ground "apartments" live kulik, hazel grouse and gull.
  2. Nests in the mountains. Located on rocky terrain, they are built by birds of prey, such as falcon.
  3. On the trees. Of all that can be found, our spring birds, finches and thrushes, build nests at low altitudes. It is very interesting that the nests have a "cement" basis of clay and sand.
  4. On the water / in the hollows. Less common nests, but having a place in the life of some birds. So on the water live black terns, and in the hollows - owls and woodpeckers.
  5. Sand holes. Some birds, with their beaks, dig a hole in the sand for themselves, and then bring in straw or grass. This is the nest of the swallow gerbil.

How to distinguish the swallow from other birds?

Swallows are very small in size, with a small head. Paws are short and thin. The male and female differ in coloration, although most often with the naked eye this difference is not noticeable. Swallows spend most of their time in the air, but if they descend to the ground, they can see how awkward their walk is. Birds feed on insects. It is noteworthy that they can only hunt in flight.

The main feature of the appearance of swallows is a forked tail, resembling a slingshot.

Birds have a friendly character, so they do not conflict with other birds, and they settle near the birds of their own species. If the swallow is attacked by a larger bird of prey, it will not only fight bravely, but will defend its nest to the last. If a cat or a person gets into the nest, then you can be sure: a small bird will selflessly defend its property.

Swallow species

It is difficult to find in Russia a person who has never seen a swallow in his life. But not only can the swallow be found on the territory of the Russian Federation, more than one species lives here. About 7 species of this bird live in our country:

  1. Rustic (killer whale) swallow. By name you can guess: this bird is well known to villagers. The swallow has a completely black back, and the neck and forehead are red-brown shades. The rustic swallows nest consists of straw, clay and, surprisingly, feathers and hair, which is one of the most durable materials for birds.
  2. Red-throat swallow. It is a bit like a swallow of the previous species, but it has several long black feathers above its tail. Surprisingly, sometimes the melancholy song of the red-lumbar swallow resembles the meowing of a cat or even a small kitten.
  3. Coast Swallow. Beregovushka is practically the smallest swallow of all available species. The beak is rather short and hard, and the color is inconspicuous - gray-brown plumage.
  4. Small swallow. Outwardly, it resembles a bank of beaches, but the bird is smaller in size. Usually they fly away around the end of August, but the arrival of small swallows is recorded at the end of March - early April.
  5. Mountain Swallow. It is also called rocky. In color, it resembles a brown one, but differs in an amazing patterned tail, which is best viewed when flying.
  6. Thorny swallow. So this species is called because the males on the tail have two thin and long, thread-like feathers. The napetail tail has a dazzling white breast and an orange head.
  7. White-faced swallow. Swallow has a black color with a blue-metallic tint. Unfortunately, quite a few individuals of this species were recorded in Russia, so many ornithologists do not recognize the existence of these swallows in our country at all.

This is not all existing species of swallows. But even from this small list it can be concluded about their diversity.


Barn Swallow is easy to meet anywhere in Russia. As for the coastal swallow, it is easier to name where it is impossible to meet her: in Australia and Antarctica. Red-tailed swallows inhabit the shores of Lake Baikal, as well as in southern Italy and Sicily. For the winter, they, like most swallows, fly to Africa and India.

The rocky swallow lives in the highlands. In Russia, it is the territory of the Caucasus and Crimea. The white-flipped swallow can be found in North America, and it winters in South America and Mexico.

Where do the swallows nest?

Swallows are very attached to the places arranged for laying eggs. When birds build nests, their location becomes the only place that the swallow can remember. The instinct is so blind that if the swallow returns to feed the chicks, and the nest is not in the same place, then it will mistakenly start feeding others.

The barn swallow prefers not to fly out of the village or the village, so its nest is usually there. Sometimes killer whales get used to people and nest right under the roofs of houses. There it is easier for them to get food, and there is also protection from wind and rain.

The coastal and small swallows nest near the water, digging a hole in the sand with their beak. They live in small groups, colonies.

Rocky swallow prefers to build a nest in the mountains or rocks, away from people and noise. Although there are nests located within the walls of block houses and tunnels. Her cup-shaped nest is made of clay, saliva and grass.

Mating season swallows

The mating season of swallows lasts from May to August, and during this time the female makes two eggs. In one laying - up to 7 eggs. After two weeks, chicks appear. After 3 weeks spent in the nest, the chicks are able to fly, so they begin to feed independently. Females choose their partners for a long period, and when choosing, they are guided by the length of the tail: the male with the longest tail wins.

Sometimes males stay alone for the season. Then, on their return from wintering, they begin to help other couples in building a nest and even feed the chicks.

Signs associated with the swallows

One of the signs mentioned above: if a swallow flies low, it means to be rain. But there are others. For example, if a swallow makes a nest near the roof of a house, then good and kind people live in this house. But if you harm the swallow, then misfortune and grief will pursue a long time. If you destroy the swallow's nest, then freckles will appear on your face - also a rather interesting sign. If the swallows arrive earlier than usual, then the year will be fruitful. And if you take a stone from a bird's nest, it will become a talisman and talisman.

Swallow description

To date, a full description has been given of about eight dozen species of representatives belonging to the swallow family. Such feathered creatures are found almost everywhere.

Important! The unique structure of the body makes the bird very maneuverable and allows it to catch even the fastest insects during the flight, and the mouth with a wide slit makes it convenient to feed the birds directly on the fly.


Despite the quite tangible different, all currently known species of swallows that live around the globe, have a mass of similar features, which are presented:

  • metallic tint of feathers in the back area,
  • wide breasts
  • extended at the base and fairly short beak,
  • large enough mouth
  • lack of external differences between males and females,
  • plumage close to the body,
  • tenacious fingers and long claws,
  • lack of differences in the color of feathers in chicks and adult birds.

Among other things, the swallows are classified as not too large in body size and wingspan of birds. For all species of swallows, the presence of very long, compared to the body, wings is characteristic. Their maximum range can vary between 33-35 cm.

It is interesting! The lower extremities of the swallow are practically absolutely not adapted for movement on the ground, and if circumstances force this movement, then the bird of this species walks very uncomfortable.

Despite the quite impressive length, the swallow wings are relatively narrow, and the tail part of its shape resembles a fork. The plumage of the swallow in the back is dark and the feathers covering the abdomen are white or light beige. Depending on the species, the swallow's plumage may differ dramatically in color and tint.

Lifestyle and character

Swallows belong to the category of common migratory birds, leading exclusively to the daily life. The arrival of such birds falls in the middle of the last spring month. The second half of the month is allocated for the construction of nests and egg-laying.

The process of hatching eggs with a swallow lasts on average a little less than a couple of weeks, and the period of feeding chicks takes about three weeks. By the mass departure of the birds are ready with the onset of autumn.

Singing swallows vaguely reminiscent of twitter, ending with a trill, very characteristic of this species of songbird. Almost all species of swallows belong to the feathery, leading a social way of life, so they gather in fairly large groups.

It is interesting! As a rule, swallows try to settle near natural water bodies, where there is a significant amount of material for nest building and forage insects, including small grasshoppers, as well as small dragonflies and crickets.

Very often flocks settle on wires or other various elevations. Nests are also built by large colonies, in which each pair actively defends the territory around its own nest.

Habitat and habitat

Swallows spend a very large amount of energy on the process of forage extraction and that is why such birds need a significant amount of it. As a rule, the natural habitat for most species of swallows is mostly southern countries, where soil and climatic conditions are optimal for birds, and in addition there is a sufficient amount of feed.

It is interesting! It should be noted that all species that live in tropical zones are classified as sedentary, and species in the temperate climate zone are migratory, flying to warm countries, starting from the last summer month.

Practically all birds of any species belonging to the order of passerine are absent in the territory of the polar regions and in the northern part of the temperate zone. Significant species diversity of swallows is represented by the territory of Africa, but such birds are quite often found on other continents as well. For example, the nesting area of ​​the country swallow is very wide, and represents both large and small settlements, devoid of urbanized landscape.

Food and prey swallows

For their food, swallows of different species use exclusively all kinds of flying insects. Even in conditions of very difficult, unfriendly weather, birds never replace such a type of feed with different larvae or seeds and larvae, which makes such birds quite vulnerable during the period of starvation.

Stern territory, as a rule, is located in a radius not exceeding half a kilometer from the nest. Most often, the swallow catches its prey in open places, including lawns, river valleys, mountain slopes and fields.

The basis of the diet are insects represented by mosquitoes, midges, flies, small butterflies, beetles and dragonflies. Immediately before the rain, with an increase in humidity in the air, the flight of insects is significantly hampered, and for this reason the swallows fall quite close to the ground, where the main amount of food is located. Such a behavioral feature of the swallow has become the basis for the signs used in weather prediction.

It is interesting! Low flights of swallows are not always associated with the approaching rain, since on fine evenings a considerable number of insects often accumulate directly above the ground, and birds are forced to fly very low.

Reproduction and offspring

Swallows belong to the category of monogamous birds; therefore, couples formed from mature adult individuals persist, as a rule, throughout life. However, as observations show, after the process of mating, male swallows quite often end up near other nests.

In European countries, the swallows return to nesting places around April or May, and for the inhabitants of the northern borders of the natural range, nest building and preparation for laying in the middle of the first summer month is characteristic. As practice shows, North African populations begin to build a nest in the last decade of March or early April.

Under natural conditions, nests are most often settled by wild swallows in stony caves or in limestone crevasses. As shown by long-term observations, some pairs of such birds can join the settlements of the swallows onshore and occupy abandoned holes in clayey coastal river zones.

Swallows are social birds living in colonies consisting of several tens or even hundreds of pairs. The nests built by birds, in this case, are located close to each other, and the birds inhabiting them perfectly get along with each other. The average construction time of the nest is about a couple of weeks.

Often there is an earlier arrival of the female and the independent construction of her nest for egg laying. After the arrival of the male, next to the unfinished nest, only one member of the couple is constantly on duty, and the second, for a considerable part of the time, is searching for building materials.

Important! Значительная часть городских ласточек отдаёт предпочтение гнездованию в городской черте, где птичьи гнезда строятся под крышами, возводятся под оконными карнизами и под мостами, а иногда даже в совсем необычных местах, включая речные паромы.

Внешним видом ласточкино гнездо напоминает закрытую полусферу, а основным строительным материалом для создания такого жилища становятся земляные комья и липкая слюна птиц. The width of the finished nest is about 110-130 mm with a height of 70-120 mm.

In the upper part of the swallow's nest, a small one is necessarily equipped, the so-called inlet. The diameter of such a gap is sufficient for a sparrow to crawl into the nest. When a sparrow appears in the nest, the swallow has to leave it and look for a new place for its dwelling.

The inside of the nest is covered with a rather soft bedding, which can be represented by grass, wool and down, which are harvested by birds during the flight. After the fertilization process, the female lays about five eggs of white coloration, measuring 1.9-2.0x1.3-1.4 cm. The average egg weight is approximately 1.6-1.7 g. The whole period of incubation lasts a couple of weeks, but under adverse weather conditions may well stretch for three weeks.

In the process of brooding, only the female of the swallow is involved, and if the weather is good, the male takes her feeding. On rainy days, the female has to feed herself alone.

When born, the chicks are so weak that the parents themselves have to break the shells and help their offspring with the birth. After the swallow chicks have reached the age of three or four weeks, they can fly on their own, but for one more week both parents feed them.

Natural enemies

The greatest danger for the swallow is a large enough falcon, which is characterized by speed and agility, and is also able to trap its prey directly in the air. Nevertheless, outstanding flight abilities, make it possible for the swallow to easily avoid meeting many predators.

It is interesting! Particularly vulnerable to enemies, swallows are on the way to the reservoirs and when searching for materials for building a nest.

Population and species status

About five species of this family live in our country. The population of most species of swallows is represented by several tens of millions, and the total number is kept, as a rule, at a stable level. However, in some states, the conservation status of many species is elevated to yellow, requiring “increased attention”.

Photo swallows

The swallow, a species of city swallow or craters (lat. Delichon urbicum) is a species of birds, passerine, swallow family, a sort of city swallows.

The bird got its name due to the common Slavic word “flippers”, literally meaning “flying here and there”.

The size of the swallow is slightly smaller than the sparrow. The body length of an adult individual is 12–17 cm, with a mass of 18–19 g. Like all members of the family, it is characterized by a fragile physique: the body is elongated, the head is slightly flattened, and the beak is small. The tail has a small neckline, the wings are narrow and long. Wing span is 20 to 33 cm.

Males and females are completely different. The head and back of adult birds are blue-black with a bluish sheen. Abdomen, nadhvoste and wrong side of the wings are pure white. The legs are completely covered with white down and feathers. Juveniles are similar to adults, but they are distinguished by a more dull black plumage of the top and brownish-white color of the bottom.

The molting period is stretched from late summer to March, with the change of small feathers in autumn, and large feathers in spring.

City swallows fly fast and cleverly, but not as swiftly as the village swallows. The voice of the birds is quiet and inexpressive, resembling a murmur or a long chirp.

Showdown of urban swallows at the time of collecting clay on the nest. Swallow. Swallow.

The city swallow is found in all European countries (except for the north of Scandinavia), as well as in North Africa and temperate regions of Asia.

The swallow is a typical migratory species, for wintering the birds fly to tropical areas of Africa and Asia.

Unlike other species, the city swallow prefers to stay close to the trees that it uses for recreation. And for nesting places it chooses open landscapes - lighted areas of rocky or sedimentary rocks, near mountain rivers.

But outside the settlements is much less common than in cities. Preference is given to stone or brick buildings, equipping nests under the roofs and eaves of houses.

It feeds near water, in open areas rich in grassy vegetation: lawns, fields, and pastures.

Swallow in flight. Swallow, possibly young or of a different kind. Swallow in flight. Swallow in flight. Swallows on the wires.

Like all members of the family, the city swallow hunts exclusively in the air. Therefore, the diet of the birds are flying insects: mosquitoes, flies, midges, gadflies, cicadas, beetles and butterflies. Often, grasshoppers and spiders moving through the air become food. Extraction, including insects with hard shell, is swallowed whole and well digested.

In rainy weather swallows do not hunt, but wait in a nest or shelter. Before cooling or bad weather, forage is mined at a height of 10-20 m, dropping to the ground after the prey.

The low flight of the swallow is not necessarily related to the upcoming rain. On fine evenings, when a large number of insects accumulate right above the ground, the birds also fly very low.

Swallow in flight. Swallow in flight, rear view.

The swallow is a monogamous bird, and the educated couple lasts for a lifetime. However, after mating, the males often end up in another nest.

In the European territory, swallows return to nesting sites in April – May, inhabitants of the northern borders of the range –– in the middle of June, North African populations have built nests since the end of March.

In the wild, nests settle in stony caves and limestone crevices. Some couples join the settlements of coastal swallows, occupying empty holes on the clay banks of the rivers.

But most urban swallows prefer to nest in cities, building nests under roofs, window eaves, under bridges and even on river ferries. Being social birds, swallows live in colonies of several tens or hundreds of pairs, building nests closely and perfectly getting along with each other.

Building a nest takes about 2 weeks. Sometimes females fly earlier than males and start building on their own. Near the unfinished nest one member of the pair is constantly on duty, the second is engaged in the search for building material.

The nest looks like a closed hemisphere of lumps of earth, glued to the structure with sticky saliva. The width of the nest is 11-13 cm, height - 7-12 cm. A small opening for entry is equipped at the top. The diameter of the slit allows the sparrows to crawl inside, and if this happens, the swallows have to look for a new place for the nest.

Inside the nest is covered with soft bedding of grass, wool and down, produced in flight. The female lays 4-6 pure white eggs measuring 1.9 - 2 x 1.3-1.4 cm, weighing about 1.7 g. The incubation period lasts 2 weeks, in inclement weather 10 days longer.

The female is engaged in incubating, in good weather the male feeds her, in rainy she has to feed independently. Before leaving the egg, the chicks are so weak that the parents break the shells themselves, helping the offspring to be born. At the age of 22-32 days, the chicks can already fly, but their parents feed them for another week.

Swallow flies to the nest. The swallow feeds the chicks at the nest. Swallows on the wires.

Throughout the area, except for the northern regions, swallows produce offspring twice. Often, the chicks of the first brood are actively involved in feeding the second generation.

The average life expectancy of a city swallow is 4-5 years, in rare cases up to 8 years.

Barn Swallow: description, lifestyle:

In our latitudes, the most numerous migratory bird is the barn swallow. This little beautiful bird is considered to be a symbol of spring. Since ancient times, people have tried to have nests of swallows under the roof of their house.

According to legend, the swallow's nest brings peace, prosperity and wealth to the family. In addition, these birds are very useful for humans because they spend all day on those that destroy harmful insects.

When in the spring near the nest that was empty during the winter, these nimble birds scurry around again, the house is a real holiday. Swallows are back - spring has come! And this is real joy!

Barn Swallow: description

Interesting information. Swallow can be called one of the cutest migratory birds. The size of this herald of spring is quite small, its body length is 15–20 cm, the span of its long sharp wings is 30–35 cm. The small creation weighs only 18–20 g. It is easy to recognize the swallow by the long tail, which has a deep incision in the shape of a fork.

The plumage of the bird is blue - black above, below - pale beige. On the forehead and front of the neck, the barn swallow has light spots with a brown tint. It is possible to distinguish a female from a male by the tail, in the “girl” it is slightly shorter than that of the “boy”. The color of the male is more saturated, the plumage of females is less contrasting.


The habitat of a small bird is quite large. Bird swallows are found in North Africa, North America, Europe and Asia. These lovely creatures winter in South America, Africa and Asia.

One can judge already by the very name of the bird that the swallow prefers to build its village nest in the countryside.

You can see these swallow-shaped buildings on the walls of residential and business premises both in villages and in small towns. The birds feel much more comfortable in quieter places.

Most often, their nests are observed in village stables or sheds, whereas on large farms these birds do not live.

As mentioned earlier, people have long believed that the swallows bring happiness to the house, therefore, in order to attract these birds to their homestead, the owners arrange special wooden structures with corners suitable for nesting. It helps to keep a population of small and useful creatures.

What swallow feeds on

The diet of this little creature consists mainly of flying insects. This menu includes mosquitoes, flies and butterflies. When it is cool or raining outside, the insects hide and the barn swallow changes flying insects for crawling spiders and caterpillars.

Everyone knows that before the rain these birds fly very low over the water, but do we all know that they do this because in bad weather the insects living near the surface of the water begin to move actively, thus giving the birds an opportunity labor to get food.

When hungry chicks squeak in the nest, a pair of swallows must work from morning to night to feed the voracious young. Birds - parents bring insects to their babies in their esophagus; during the day, five chicks will need about four hundred servings.

Village and city swallows: interesting facts

A related species of barn swallow is the City Swallow, these are the most common species of these migratory birds. Many interesting facts are known about their lives:

  1. The song of the swallow consists of ringing “viv - vit”, but when the birds notice the danger, they alarmingly signal to all members of the huge flock, warning about this with a loud “swing”.
  2. It happens that the chicks from the last brood do not have time to get stronger and are not able to fly along with the flock to warm countries with the onset of cold weather. In this case, the swallows - parents do not abandon their weak babies and remain with them until they can fly for the winter.
  3. While hibernating in Africa, the swallows feed on ants; this variety is very popular in the usual menu of flying insects.
  4. Relatively recently, scientists were able to find out, thanks to the ringing of the swallows, that after a summer period in Central Europe, these birds are sent to winter in South Africa.
  5. During long flights to the warm edges of the swallow, unfortunately, often die from exhaustion and starvation.
  6. Barn Swallow is unable to live without singing. She sings when she searches for food in flight, sings when rocking, sits on wires and sings when she is just resting.
  7. When in ancient Rome, after the chariot races were announced, the hero took the first place, then the swallows were tied to the feet of the winner and the bird was released into the sky as a symbol of victory and free flight.

Bird swallow urban village, what it looks like what eats

Due to the lengthy human acquaintance with the swallows, many myths and legends arose.

People believed that the presence of these birds protected farm animals from diseases and curses, and buildings from fires.

According to superstition, these birds are a good omen for those who are at sea. This is probably due to the fact that swallows are land birds, so their appearance tells the sailors about their proximity to the coast.

During the nineteenth century, Jean Desbouvry attempted to tame and train them for use as postal birds. He managed to keep the migrating instinct in young birds and to convince the French government to conduct initial testing, but further experiments have stalled, as the swallow does not tolerate captivity and mates only in the wild.

Distribution and habitat

Swallows have a worldwide cosmopolitan distribution, on all continents except Antarctica.

This family uses a wide range of habitats and depends on flying insects that can be found in any open habitat, including:

  • meadows
  • open woodland
  • savannah, swamps,
  • mangroves and shrubs,
  • from the sea to the highlands.

Many species live in man-made landscapes.including agricultural land and even urban areas. Changes in land use have also led to the fact that some species have expanded their range. The most impressive example is the swallow, which colonized New Zealand in the 1920s and is now a common bird for this country.

Species that inhabit the temperate region migrate in winter. There are several tropical species that are partial migrants or make shorter migrations.

Males choose nest locationand then attract the female using, song and flight. The size of the territory varies depending on the species; in colonial nesting birds, the area tends to be small.

Outside of the breeding season, some species may form large flocks. It is believed to provide protection from birds of prey.

Non-social species do not form flocks, but chicks can stay with their parents for some time after the breeding season.

Swallow singing

Swallows can produce many different sounds, which are used to express excitement, communicate with other swallows of the same species, during courtship or as an alarm when the predator is in the area. Males songs are related to the condition of the bird’s body and are supposedly used by females to judge the physical condition and fitness for mating of the males. A typical song of swallows is a simple, sometimes musical chirping.

Relationships with people

Swallows are welcomed by people because of their useful role as an insect killer, and city swallows can easily adapt to nesting in and around human habitation.

Perennial Nests

Once folded, a well-marked nest on all sides becomes a landmark in the area for many years. For several decades it will be occupied by different individuals, who, due to their natural diligence, will also contribute to the accumulation of nesting material. The thickness of the platform will grow from year to year, the platform will turn into an impressive tower.

The famous nest of the bald eagle under Vermilion in Ohio (USA) was 2.5 meters in diameter and over 3 meters in height with a weight of about 2 tons. Probably, this is the most massive construction of birds from those that, without any stretch, can be called a typical nest intended for breeding offspring as a married couple. Only a few are inferior to this colossal construction of a nest of Pacific white-shouldered eagles in Kamchatka. The nest of the black neck in size resembles a wheel from the heaviest dump truck, reaching two meters in diameter and almost a meter thick. In its walls, taking advantage of the peacefulness of the owners, are placed entire bird families, which are tolerably tolerant of each other.

Nest construction materials

Many birds resort to this very simple technique of layer-by-layer folding. In waterbirds, the material is not boughs, but various fragments of aquatic plants. The material is placed in the wet state, which, upon drying, informs the building of additional strength due to the effect of "gluing" the drying fragments.

In small birds with miniature nests, cobwebs are among the favorite materials, and they spend a lot of time searching for them. Being sticky and durable, it acts as a cementing material, bonding separate layers of dry grass, and perfectly ensures the attachment of nests to the branches of the tree.

Tropical nectar nests

Tropical nectar nests are very distinctive and easily recognizable by their design. У большинства видов постройка выглядит как сильно вытянутая груша, висящая на кончике тонкой веточки или же подвешенная к нижней стороне пальмового или бананового листа.In the lower, extended part of the “pear,” a closed nesting chamber is arranged with a narrow side entrance, usually covered with a small visor from above. The building is very miniature, and even the nectar-bitter inside is not quite fit, so the head of the hen with its long curved beak is almost always visible from the outside. The main building material is the plant fluff, held together with a large number of cobwebs, which is also used for hanging the nest.

Due to the large number of web, flickering in the sun, the nests of some species look very elegant and resemble Christmas decorations, which by mistake were on a palm tree. In general, the love of nectars for the web is all-consuming in nature - the Russian name of spider, applied to some members of this group of birds, should be changed to spider lovers. Some nectar houses do not build nests at all. Having found a good web bedding in a nook in a tree crown, they slightly rake it in one place and lay eggs in the resulting tray.

Warbler nests

Reeds of the reed are worth mentioning; they are skillfully fixed on vertical stalks standing next to each other. The stems pass through the side walls of the nest, which is retained on the supports mainly due to friction or “glued” with putty from silt and mud. In shape, the nymph of the warbler resembles a cylinder or a ball with a truncated tip, neatly twisted from blades of grass and reed leaves. The edges of the tray are always strongly tightened, the inside is sometimes “plastered” with the same mud, which dries out and forms a smooth surface. Sometimes the warblers attach the nest to live, growing stalks of nettle, meadowsweet, or willow, and in the month that has passed from the time the building was laid down to the departure of the chicks, it sometimes rises almost half a meter. The nest is attached to the reed stalks by side walls.

"The pottery master" - clay nests

In the catalog of building materials feathered there is also a wet clay soil. The main bet on it was made by swallows, rocky nuthatches, sorochi larks and some members of the family with the eloquent name of bird-stove. Molded nests are among the most skilled feathered buildings and resemble pottery. They are molded from small lumps of clay and therefore almost always have a characteristic fine-hilly surface, so by the number of tubercles one can quite accurately count how many portions of material were laid during the construction process.

Shrike larks

Sorrel larks are small variegated birds living in arid regions of Australia. Contrary to the name, from an evolutionary point of view, they are more to the raven birds and in fact resemble forty with half-cut tails. They are quite satisfied with the simplest cupped-shaped nests opened from above, fixed on the branches of trees and typical for the majority of ravens. The only difference is that the larks' nests are entirely molded of clay. This gives only one advantage - the ability to build on thin horizontal branches, "sticking" the building to them, while for nests of "standard" material, which does not have cement properties, you need to search for a fork of the branches or strengthen them near the trunk, along which can marten marmots or snakes.

Nests of a Large Rocky Nuthatch

The nest of a large rocky nuthatch looks like a narrow-necked jug glued to the rock bottom. The jug neck, that is, the entrance to the nest, is directed downwards and sideways. Such a "jug" weighs usually about 4-5 kilograms, but there are also more massive structures. The wall thickness reaches 7 centimeters, and the strength is such that it is impossible to break the nest with your hands. As a cementitious mortar, nuthatches use mucus of crushed caterpillars, beetles and butterflies, mercilessly smearing them on the surface of the nest, which over time here and there becomes covered with a motley pattern of wings of unfortunate victims.

Swallows Nest

Swallow's nests are distinguished by a wide variety of forms. The simplest is the construction of barn swallows, which is open on top - exactly half of the neatly cut along the cup, glued along the cut to the wall, certainly under the cover of some visor - a cornice or rocky ledge. City swallows form a nest closed from all sides with a narrow side entrance. Most often, the building is close in shape to a quarter-ball, attached at the top and back to two mutually perpendicular planes - usually to the wall and the roof canopy.

The nest of the red-lumbar swallow is notable for its extreme elegance of form. It is a half cut along the jar with a rather long neck and is attached directly to the ceiling.

Nest of the bird-stove

In the art of handling clay, the stove-dwelling bird in Argentina’s pampas has no competitors. In size and shape, its construction resembles a soccer ball attached to a solid tree branch or top of a pillar. In appearance, it looks straightforward, but causes respect by its solidity, reaching a weight of 10 kilograms.

A side entrance leads to a rather spacious interior - a kind of lobby, to the back wall of which the nest chamber itself is attached - a deep pocket fashioned from clay, something like a barn swallow's nest. It is not easy to squeeze into this “pocket”, because between the ceiling of the vestibule and the upper edge of the “pocket”, the stove-makers leave a very narrow gap, so that they can be safe from uninvited guests.

Why do birds build nests from clay?

Clay is malleable in construction and gives high strength to finished buildings. Why did these advantages turn out to be in demand by the “building industry” of birds on such a limited scale? Widespread use of clay for the construction of bird nests interfere with its endless vagaries, depending on the weather. It is too hot for her, and she dries out, often forcing to suspend a construction project that has already begun. That, on the contrary, is too damp, and the newly laid layers of clay refuse to dry and harden, which also entails an unplanned pause in construction.

In addition, it is desirable to build clay nests in the shade. Once in the sun, they can dry out and collapse, and even the chicks in a red-hot clay “stove” sit hard. Therefore, the swallows love to settle under the roofs of the buildings, nestling avoid building nests on the southern exposure rocks and almost always hide them under the overhanging rocky cornices, and the stove builders tend to lay eggs as early as possible in the spring, while the sun has not yet gained full strength.

Finally, the clay nests are very laborious. To build a very small nest with perfect weather and full material supply, a pair of urban swallows must be delivered from 700 to 1500 portions of clay (excluding the dropped ones), which takes at least ten days. Stoppers and nuthatches with their massive nests require at least 2000 lumps, and the construction, accompanied by inevitable downtime, stretches for several weeks. Stoves do not hide nests from the sun and are therefore forced to increase their weight with all their strength in order to reduce the rate of their heating and reduce the range of temperature fluctuations.

But with all the flaws, the stucco nests still opened up a completely new approach to the issue of security. Swallows and nuthatches have the opportunity to "stick" their houses on the steepest rocks, hanging over the rapids of mountain rivers or falling into the bottomless precipices, under the ceiling of caves and grottoes among the mysterious twilight and eternal dampness, in short, in places where predators are not able to . In addition, the nests fashioned in the form of closed-entrance cameras with a narrow entrance perfectly protect the offspring, and in the case of parents from rain and cold.

With the help of clay soil, you can reduce the size of the inlet to the hollow, as our common creeps do. They lodge mainly in hollows of large motley woodpeckers with a notch of about 50-60 millimeters in diameter, while a nuthatch is quite enough of 35 millimeters. The nuthatch eliminates the difference by diligently covering the entrance of the soil with clay, silt or manure.

This activity has a purely instinctive nature. Even if the nuthatch nests in a hollow with a small notch, it will still generously cover the bark of the tree around the entrance with clay.

Swifts nests

The ratio of swifts to the device of their nests can be described as "devil-may-care". The main building material during construction is its own saliva, which has the ability to instantly harden in air.

Swift - the best flyer among all the birds. He lives on the fly - hunts for insects, quenches thirst, plays a wedding, rests, sleeps, and so on.

The most famous representative of the sub-order swifts, numbering 58 species, is the black swift - the inhabitant of urban lofts and birdhouses. The shape of its nests depends on the configuration of the nesting room, the presence of foreign nesting material in it. Basically, the nest looks quite ordinary and is a kind of flat bread with edges raised like a saucer.

In terms of design features and construction costs, the most difficult and time-consuming nest is built by Cayenne Swift living in Central and South America. The building is suspended from a hanging rocky eaves and in appearance very much resembles a thick icicle with a broken tip. According to its device, the socket is a tube with an entrance from below. Clinging with sharp claws, Swift climbs onto the protrusion of the inner wall, where the egg lies. At the top of the tube there is another false entry, which ends in a dead end. The length of the "icicles" exceeds 60 centimeters, which is four times the length of the builder himself. No wonder that the construction takes almost half a year and requires patience and determination from birds. It is not easy to catch plant fibers and feathers in the air and, of course, to produce saliva in sufficient quantity for construction.

With the help of saliva, Swifts have the opportunity to glue eggs at the hatching site - this allows them to manage with the tiniest nests and hatch the clutch in the most incredible position.

Palm Tree Nest

The nest of palm trim, widespread in the tropics of the Eastern Hemisphere, resembles a tablespoon without a handle in shape and size. This “spoon” is glued to the underside of a hanging palm leaf almost upright. The eggs, of course, also stick - without this, they will immediately fall to the ground. The “newborn” chicks tightly clutch with their sharp claws into their hanging cradle and hang as many weeks as the parents had been hanging.

Palm Tree Nest shields palm leaf from tropical rain showers. Crested swifts rely only on themselves to protect their nests from the rain. Compared to their own size, they build the smallest nests among all the birds.
But not from the good life, but in order that the nest could be completely closed from the rains with its own body.

Meanwhile, in the nesting places of these birds in tropical climates, it rains daily, as scheduled - right after lunch, and they are extremely strong. The building is a tiny shelf of several pieces of bark glued together, plant fibers and fluffy glued to the tree branch from the side. There is enough space for only one egg: the incubating bird has to sit on a branch, because the shelf will not stand it. Therefore, the branch, where the nest is attached, should not be thicker than a finger - otherwise the swipe will not catch hold of it with your fingers. Sitting under a raging tropical rain, amid a raging thunderstorm, the crested swift deserves to become a symbol of the parental dedication of the birds.

Woodpecker's Nest

What only professions have not mastered the birds in pursuit of maximum comfort and safety of their nests! Some even had to master the skills of carpenters and excavators. These skills are based on the skillful use of the same working tool - their own strong beak, which, depending on the circumstances, can be used as a chisel or instead of a shovel. Therefore, the profession of a carpenter and a digger in the world of birds is quite closely related to each other.

Most of the 200 varieties of woodpeckers spread throughout the world are native forest dwellers, and they have no equal in the art of treating trees. When the main forest "carpenter" - desirable - enters into excitement and gets down to business seriously, chips around up to fifteen centimeters fly around the "construction site". Zhelna is the largest of our woodpeckers, almost the size of a crow, and therefore needs a spacious “apartment”. The depth of its hollow reaches 40 centimeters, the inner diameter is 25 centimeters.

“Construction” in turn lead both partners, and it rarely takes less than two weeks. Work goes on at a height of not less than 3 meters from the ground, and some couples climb almost 15 meters. Therefore, in early spring, until the grass rose, a tree, chosen by the desired one, from a distance produces large white chips, lying at a distance of up to 10-12 meters from the trunk. The hollow of this species — even abandoned by the “builders” long ago — is easy to recognize by the shape of the notch - it is usually not round, like other woodpeckers, but elliptical, and sometimes almost rectangular, stretched along the trunk.

Woodpecker hollow

Most woodpeckers each year hollow out a new “house”, transferring the old to the “secondary market” and acting as real benefactors in relation to other birds that have a chronic need for hollows. The hollows of the great spotted woodpecker, the most numerous and well-known "carpenter" of Russian forests, are inhabited mainly by small singing birds - flycatchers, red stalks, tits. They are completely satisfied with a room with a diameter of 14-15 and a depth of 20-25 centimeters. But it is especially important and even indispensable for forest birds, which are desirable, whose voluminous hollows provide shelter to such large birds as owls, pigeons, crumbled and gogoli.

The old hollow trees of the patriarchs are almost extinct in modern forests, therefore it is almost impossible to find a proper hollow natural size for owls, owls, clintuha. Unlike other woodpeckers, who are inclined to change their places of residence annually, it is desirable to retain many years of attachment to old hollows, which does not at all prevent her from building a new one in the spring — in reserve.
With all the skill, woodpeckers still rarely venture from beginning to end to hollow a hollow in the hard wood of a perfectly healthy tree. Therefore, almost all woodpeckers consider aspen, with its soft wood, prone to heart rot, a favorite tree going under the hollows. It is possible that, tapping the trunk before the start of the “construction”, the woodpecker aurally determines whether it is worth starting work on this tree or it is better to search for another.

The dwarf woodpecker, one of the smallest representatives of forest carpenters living in the bamboo forests of the Himalayas and Indochina, is well settled. The bamboo trunk is hollow inside and is divided into sections by internode partitions. It is enough for the bird to continue the trunk wall 10–20 centimeters above the internode — and a completely ready nesting chamber is at its disposal.

The red-headed woodpecker living in the same region does not build a hollow at all, but breeds chicks inside massive and certainly inhabited nests of large tree ants nicknamed “fiery” for their liveliness of character and readiness to launch powerful jaws and a poisonous sting immediately.

The building material for ants is a kind and rather durable “cardboard” made of wood fibers thoroughly chewed and mixed with saliva. Woodpeckers make a hole about 5 centimeters in diameter in the shell of an ant nest and lay their eggs right among insect brood chambers. The secret of the loyalty of ants, whose incredible aggressiveness is known to all the inhabitants of the jungle, has not yet been solved with respect to woodpeckers, especially since feathered tenants are not modest in character and regularly eat ant pupae, even without interrupting their incubation.

Burrows of common kingfisher

In terms of digging holes, kingfishers are great masters. They are digging with their beak, and they are digging out the ground from the tunnel with their paws, backing back to the entrance, so cleverly that the clay and sand fountain out of the hole. Choosing a place more comfortably, many birds lay at the same time several holes, often at a decent distance from each other. In the morning, the kingfisher is working on one cliff, after lunch it flies to another, and in the evening, you see, clay is sprinkling from the third.

Digging a hole requires concentrated effort and takes a lot of effort. But the couple of kingfishers is working with great enthusiasm, and the couple not only do not shirk their work, but are eager to make as much contribution as possible to the construction and wait with great impatience for their turn.

Готовая нора – это узкий тоннель длиной от тридцати сантиметров до трех метров, который идет горизонтально или с малым наклоном. Входом нора всегда обращена в сторону реки, а в ее глубине находится круглая гнездовая камера размером с яблоко. Это и есть детская, в которой свободно могут развиваться до пяти птенцов.

Среди пернатых есть немало видов, которые сами себя плотницкими или земляными работами не утруждают, но охотно квартируют в готовых дуплах и норах. Жильцы каждого вида предъявляют к помещению свои требования. For example, large tits occupy the darkest and deepest hollows and do not tolerate crevices in artificial nests. On the contrary, the pied flycatchers, also committed to nesting in hollows, do not like darkness, which is why a peculiar effect of “nesting aging” became known in the practice of attracting birds. Its essence is that most flycatchers occupy recently hung nest boxes with light inside walls, but almost do not populate nests that have been hanging for many years, whose walls have become dark gray from time to time. But it is enough to whitewash these nesting sites inside; they again become attractive.

Achievements "weaving shop"

The most amazing exhibits in the Museum of Architecture of Birds are supplied by the “weaving workshop”. Outstanding craftsmen, who are so directly called weavers, work here. Almost all of them are smaller than sparrows. The “workshop staff” comprises more than 100 varieties of weavers, almost all of them live in the savannas and forests of Africa. A small branch of the "shop" is located in Southeast Asia - there are only 7 species working here. The whole "weaving shop", which makes up the family of weavers, is divided into several subfamily departments, which differ greatly in the number of "personnel" and the peculiarities of the technological process.

Only 7 species of sparrows belong to the department. They managed to master the weaving case not quite, but this did not prevent one of them - however, by collective efforts - to make an exhibit that in the building industry of birds has every reason to be considered the most difficult and one of the most cumbersome structures.

Construction Engineering

All weaving nests are a variation on one theme. This is a spherical or ellipsoid chamber closed on all sides with a narrow entrance from below or from the side. In many species, a more or less long entrance tube leads to the nest, which is why the whole building acquires a resemblance with a flask or a retort. The construction technique of weavers is very interesting. Unlike other birds, they are not hanging, but hanging nests.

First weave the basis. Acting with a beak, paws, fluttering around the desired branch, the bird manages to wrap itself rather tightly with a small amount of building material. Then one of the neighboring branches is wrapped, and the birds connect them to each other with a pair of woven jumpers from below and above. A semblance of a ring is formed, which eventually turns into a basket and then into a flask — in a word, into a finished dwelling.

The construction of weavers is done only by males, and many of them do not bother to go inside their own nests at least once. The fact is that, without exception, it is customary for them to carry out construction work outside, without climbing inside the room. Having arrived with another strip, the male invariably occupies the same working position - on the lower lintel of the ring, with its beak to the future far wall of the nest and with its back to its future entrance. Thus, the weaver conducts construction in the direction of “on himself” and as the size of the construction increases, under its “onslaught”, he is forced to deviate more and more backwards, with amazing persistence holding his paws at the original place. He has to finish the construction and invite the bride to inspect the apartment in an inverted position, that is, hanging back down and holding his claws over the threshold of the house.

Nest of public weavers

Fast forward now from East Africa, in the savannas of which most species of real weavers inhabit, to the Namib Desert, which stretches in a narrow strip along the coasts of the Atlantic in the southwest of the African continent, washed by the cold Benguela current. The local regions are distinguished by the severity of climate and are not rich in birds.

But which ornithologist will refuse to visit this inhospitable region, under the gloomy name of the Skeleton Coast? After all, here you can see one of the main wonders of the building industry of birds - the collective nest of social weavers.

The result of collective creativity is visible from afar and resembles a large mound of hay, swept away by someone else's whim, not on the ground, but in the crown of a tree. Especially often such “shovels” fall on the wok-cockerbum lilies with their extremely thick succulent (succulent) stem, serving as a reservoir of moisture, and a rounded cap of short and gnarled branches. The “mound” is fastened on the thickest branches and is a cone-shaped tightly compressed mass of dry grass, covered on top with a thick and durable layer of tightly laid prickly twigs and coarse plant stalks, forming a kind of roof.

Nest of public weavers

Residential nesting chambers are located in the lowermost layer of soft material. Their entrances are turned down and are located close to each other, so that when viewed from the bottom, the picture resembles partly a honeycomb. At the top of the residential nests in several floors are old nests, long abandoned by the owners and completely filled with nesting material.

The maximum height (or thickness) of collective nests reaches one meter, the circumferential length is 3-4 meters. Tens of generations of weavers are engaged in the construction of these grandiose buildings, living to the age of ages, in large nests simultaneously live up to 500 individuals. After serving his own, "the shock" breaks down and falls on the ground.

With the delivery and laying of material, the population of the colony is concerned year-round. In winter, weavers are little interested in the lower surface and mostly pass the time on the roof, where, with great diligence, rough, dried up stalks of weeds and dry and prickly branches of acacias are dragged. It is flattering for everyone to place their offering above the others, which is why the roof inevitably takes the form of a fairly regular cone-shaped dome.

With the arrival of spring, the attention of the birds increasingly switches to the “soft underbelly” of the structure, that is, to its lower surface. Having found a spot here and having hung on the paws with his back down, the weaver is received with his beak, neatly and methodically, thrust the ends of the blades of grass sticking out into the material. This work, which is to say, requires patience. In the end, a fossa is formed on the lower surface of the soft layer, which, using the same painstaking technique, deepens and expands until it reaches the nest chamber volume.

At the same time, from a certain moment, the builder begins to bring additional blades of grass onto the construction site and, acting in the usual way, inserts them into the material around the fossa. Thereby, the layer of material grows even more, and the nesting chamber sinks more and more into its thickness. Thus, the nest building of a colony of public weavers increases all year long, but in winter it grows upwards, whereas with the beginning of the nesting season it grows downwards.

The most amazing nest is built by the African Remez: being generally similar to the nest of an ordinary Remez, it has two entrances. A false dead-end entrance is clearly visible from the outside, and as for entering the nest room, it is often not easy to see it, because it is covered by a soft entrance tube, which is not easy to penetrate even for the owners.

Construction work at Remezov deal exclusively males. An idle male lays the foundation of the building and by singing attracts the female. If it is not long, the male erects a new building nearby and sings near it. The technology of construction is original. Arriving at the construction site with a bundle of soft vegetable fibers in the beak, the male strengthens them with one end on the support branch and starts to quickly circle around it, intercepting with its paws and winding the fibers on the base, like a thread on a reel. For an hour the "builder" brings breeding material 10-15 times. After 3-4 hours of work, the male connects the twisted branches with each other with a cross-piece of a bundle of grass, so that the base of the nest is formed in the shape of a triangle or ring. Now the male can wear not only elastic plant fibers, which are used to strengthen the foundation of the building, but also large tufts of fluff, which are stuck in different places between the fibers and gradually form the walls of the nest.

Already at the end of the first day of construction, the nest takes the form of a miniature and neat basket with a handle - thicker and wider at the base. In the future, the lateral edges of the baskets are getting higher, the holes are reduced and finally the roof arch closes. Now it remains only to attach the entrance hall in the form of a tube, and the nest is ready. Note that exactly the same sequence of actions, and up to coincidence in the smallest details, is also characteristic of the already mentioned weavers, who also construct trailing sockets, but use other materials and other technology of their attachment.

During construction, males are forced to vigilantly protect the area around their nests, because if an oversight is taken, buildings, especially unfinished ones, can be destroyed by other males who view alien (as well as abandoned last year) nests just as a nesting material warehouse.

Remez family life looks rather bizarre, the marriage unions of these birds are usually very ephemeral. After a pair is formed, the male Remeza quickly finishes construction (sometimes with the participation of the female) and may then devote himself to incubating the masonry, or perhaps fly away on a journey and acquire a new family at a distance of 25-30 kilometers from the previous summer.

Many males have a building instinct that is so overwhelming that they often try to complete the construction of a ready-made nest with masonry, causing displeasure and even direct aggression on the part of females who display well-founded fears for the safety of eggs. In turn, some females have time to lay up to three clutches in the nests of different males over the summer. Some females leave the clutches in the care of the males, some remain nasizhivat - alone or with the help of spouses. Many clutches are dying due to the fact that parents are quarreling all the time, they cannot “agree” on which of them will be the hen.

Swallow: description, food, reproduction, habitat

We are all pleased to find this bird outside our window, because when the swallows arrive, spring comes. These are migratory birds with long pointed wings and streamlined bodies. Due to this body shape, their flight is very fast.

They are often seen above the fields, gardens, lakes, where insects are abundant. They are recognized by the forked tail.

There is a legend which says that this bird helped people to steal fire from the gods, an angry god threw burning coal into it, which, having hit the middle of its tail, burned it.


Spring swallows arrive around April, they build nests of mud and plant fibers on beams, under roofs of houses or on ledges of rocks, inside they cover them with straw and down.

Existing nests are frequently updated and reused for almost 50 years. The time from the start of building the nest to the departure of young people is from 44 to 58 days.

Due to too fast construction or humidity, the nests may collapse or fall.

To build a house, the birds collect dirt from the edges of ponds, puddles and ditches, for complete construction you will need to fly from a puddle to the nest about 1000 times. Collecting mud and building nests - social activities for rock swallows. On the surface of the pools there are numerous small holes from their beaks.

Folk omens

There are many folk signs about the weather with which people associate the behavior of such a bird as a swallow. Their description is given below:

  • To the rain: if the birds bathe and fly anxiously, then into the nest, then from the nest, if the flight takes place low above water or land.
  • To dry weather - high flight.
  • Before the storm - flight up and down.