Swallows of all kinds find the Preserve attractive for raising their families. Cliff swallows built their mud nests along the exposed sandstone cliffs along the lakeshore, Tree Swallows find suitable cavities throughout the Preserve and also nest in the boxes provided on the Bluebird trail, and Barn Swallows are seen by the Community gardens. Other swallows seen in the Preserve and at times nesting are Purple Martins, Bank Swallows and the Northen Rough-winged Swallow. All swallows eat flying insects, consuming
Cliff Swallows – New life on an ancient Landscape
“The cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) looks somewhat like the barn swallow, but has relatively broad, round wings and a short, squared-off tail. The back, wings, and crown of the adult are a deep blue, and its belly is light colored. Barn and cliff swallows travel up to a half-mile to gather mud from the edges of ponds, puddles, and ditches. They rarely land on the ground unless they are nest building. Cliff swallow nests are gourd shaped structures made of mud pellets and fibrous material. The larger cliff swallow nest may contain 1,000 pellets or more, each representing one trip to and from the nest.” (Source: Washington Department Fish and Wildlife)
The famous Swallows at Mission San Juan Capistrano in southern California are Cliff Swallows.
Flocks of Cliff Swallows often swarm around the cliffs and trees at the end of Picnic Point. They like to built their nests underneath horizontal rock ledges, as seen along the tip of Picnic Point and at Raymer’s Cove. The rocks exposed at Raymer's Cove are late Cambrian age sandstone. They were deposited in a shallow sea about 490 to 500 million years ago and belong to the so-called Tunnel City Group formation (see David Mickelson's on the Preserve's geology). When viewing these cliffs from the lakeside, you can see how more resistant layers form ledges, while less resistant layers erode inward.
Jeff and Arlene Koziol of the Friends found two Cliff Swallow nests on the exposed sandstone near Raymer’s Cove (August 2014).