I planned on being very clever in this post. I was going to make the same kind of wonderful jokes I made in my speech in Bradford two months ago. When I was asked about animals I’ve seen on hikes and rides, I mentioned “swifts – not Taylor Swift, the kind that nest at Marilla [Reservoir]. ” The birds nest in the roof of the covered bridge on the trail, over the dam spillway.
However, two months later I reexamined my photos from my hikes at Marilla. I have a few photos of the birds’ nests, but only one photo with a bird in it. And even then its only the tail, from underneath.
While based on the nest alone it might be a reasonable assumption that the birds were chimney swifts, the bird in the photo appears to be a barn swallow. Swifts don’t perch, but instead cling to a vertical surface, and the bird in the photo is perching. The swift also has a short tail, and the bird’s tail is swallow like. For comparison’s sake, here is the barn swallow from Audubon’s The Birds of America. The scan doesn’t do justice to Audubon, but you can see its like the bird in the photo.
So while all my Taylor Swift jokes are now so much paper to burn, I’m now more educated on the birds I saw, and the birds I didn’t see. I try to learn in my time in the outdoors, and afterward too.