Arlene Koziol has been recording photographically the activities of the swallows living in the cliffs along the shoreline of Lake Mendota east of Raymer's Cove. These beautiful sandstone cliffs, with convenient cracks between ancient layers of sandstone, are popular with both Cliff Swallows and Barn Swallows. The Barn Swallows use mud and dried sticks and grass, almost the same materials our ancestors used to fill the empty spaces between the timbers of their early houses, to plaster their nest on the cliff sides. They place the opening of the nest just below a larger crevice in the cliff, cracks between layers of sandstone that form little caves. As the family grows up, often 5-6 nestlings, they take advantage of this extra space in the sheltered crevice.
Both parents feed the young, and sometimes even the offspring of previous brood help to rise the second batch of nestlings. Flitting about the cliff wall and overhanging vegetation they feeds on a wide variety of insects, flies, beetles, wasps,and bugs; even wild bees, damsel flies and the occasional spider. Alll photos by Arlene Koziol
Gisela Kutzbach and contributors