This is our resident male Barn Swallow, Cliffy.  Cliffy came to the Wildlife Sanctuary in 2013. He was transferred from a rehab facility in Minnesota where he had been admitted with a wing injury. Unfortunately for Cliffy, his wing never fully healed. He does have some flight, but not enough flight to survive in the wild.
At the Wildlife Sanctuary, Cliffy loves to eat live mealworms and waxworms. He is even comfortable enough to allow our staff and volunteers to hand feed them to him. Barn swallows, along with other swallow species, are normally on-the-wing feeders meaning they feed while in flight. Swallows like Cliffy, love to eat tons of insects during the day, in particular mosquitoes! They may appear to have tiny little mouths if you look at their beak, but when they open up its like a big net to catch all those bugs while in flight. Often times you will see them over small bodies of water, skimming bugs just above the water. Because of how they feed in the while, it an be a challenge to get them adjusted to eating in captivity, but fortunately Cliffy has adjusted very well.
Barn swallows are a migratory species, and will fly down to parts of Texas and South America for the winter. They return every spring to mate and raise their young. Swallows have a very distinctive nesting style. Often they will nest under the eves of roofs, bridges, or on the wall of barns or buildings. Quite impressively, the swallows will use that tiny beak to pick up clay or mud, and will layer it to build their nests while occasionally weaving in some grass or straw. It may take them a while, but it is quite the sturdy structure to raise their young. They may be small, but they are quite the amazing little birds. So stop on by the Observation Building and visit Cliffy and the rest of his swallow friends!