northern rough-winged swallow
Smaller than a sparrow, the Northern Rough-Winged Swallow is a rather drab bird, with a dull brownish back and plain whitish front. At the throat is a dusky smudge. The bill is short and pointed and the tail is square. The “rough-wing” term refers to hooks on the edge of its primary feathers, but they are not much use for field identification since they are so small. Young birds have some rusty coloring.
This agile swallow forages in the air for insects, which comprise nearly 100 percent of its diet. The female builds a nest from materials collected on the ground, such as dried grass, roots, bark, pine needles, moss, and many other materials. The nest site is a burrow. The Rough-Winged Swallow is flexible in its burrow choice; documented sites have included not only cavities previously used by other bird species (such as kingfishers) but other cavities in vertical surfaces. These could be from crevices in a culvert or even drainpipes. One documented example was found in a Civil War cannon barrel. However, this species does not use tree cavities.
What brings it to the SBG?
Food, cover. SBG is an excellent insectivore habitat. It is not clear whether the SBG habitat provides nest sites. Groundhog burrows there are aplenty, but the burrow usually needs to be set into a vertical surface.
When can I see it?
About April to late summer. Migration is prolonged and they may be seen as late as October. Eastern birds migrate to the Gulf of Mexico coast and Central America.