The photos I posted of the barn swallow family got enough positive reaction that I decided to get some video of the parents taking care of the young'uns.
Following is a five-minute video distilled from about a 45 minutes of raw footage. I've edited it to focus on the interactions between the adults and the babies, which of course is all about the feeding. During that time period, I counted 11 distinct instances of feeding.
Here are some of the highlights you'll observe if you watch the entire video.
- It appears that both parents contribute to the feeding. I can't tell them apart, but at the 2:50 mark, one shows up to "tag team" the other (although at first glance, it seems not be be a welcome appearance).
- I have always assumed that barn swallows fed their young by regurgitating partially digested insects into the babies' mouths, but right off the bat - at the 30 second mark where I've slowed down the action - you can see a whole insect, legs sticking out of the adult's mouth, and it gets stuffed right down the gullet of the infant. I guess they know what they're doing.
- Another slo-mo feeding takes place near the end, at the 4:10 mark, and this one seems to clearly demonstrates the regurgitating process.
- It's also fascinating to watch how the adults seemingly know who gets fed next. If there was any doubling up, with one youngster getting fed twice in a row, I didn't catch it.