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type of swallow?


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#1 kcharmatz

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:49 PM

I'm in Westminster, MD (suburb of Baltimore) and there are a group of approx 7-10 birds flying around low to the ground. These birds look like a type of swallow. The backs are an iridescencent blue and the breast/belly are white. The wings are black. There are no stripes and or other markings that I can see. They flew too fast for me to take a picture. They kept flying by low to the ground while my brother mowed his lawn. I'm up here from Atlanta & have my bird book w/ me but I can't figure out what these birds are.


#2 Liam

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:57 PM

Did you note the tail shape? It could be Barn Swallows or Tree Swallows (Barn being more likely this time of year). Barn Swallows have deeply forked tails.

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#3 BarnSwallow

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:01 PM

Swallows love to follow mowers, catching the bugs they stir up! As Liam said, they could be barn or tree. Tree swallows have a very clear, bright white breast. Barn swallows have a salmon-colored breast, but they can appear whitish as they zip by. Barn sounds more likely to me, also. I'm a county east of you, in a rural area, and barn swallows are the most common ones that follow mowers, by far.

#4 psweet

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:01 PM

Why would you consider Barn Swallow to be more likely, Liam? Tree Swallows nest as far south as Maryland.

#5 Liam

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:13 PM

Why would you consider Barn Swallow to be more likely, Liam? Tree Swallows nest as far south as Maryland.


Oops, I misread, and thought the OP observed the bird in Atlanta.

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#6 psweet

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:17 PM

Oh, allright. Thanks.

#7 MATT K

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 04:18 PM

I saw a tree swallow in southwest MS this past Saturday, on an 800 ac lake with tons of standing timber. The OP's description of " The backs are an iridescencent blue and the breast/belly are white" sounds perfect for tree swallow to me.
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#8 kcharmatz

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 05:21 PM

Thanks everyone. I thought they were a type of swallow but I wasn't convinced by reading the d.escription in the guide I brought with me (the Stokes field guide to birds, Eastern region)




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