Open Wide

This week’s photo, taken June 24, 2012 at Union Bay Natural Area (Montlake Fill) in Seattle, WA, features the fledgling BARN SWALLOW with mouth wide open, as it welcomes the arrival of another snack from one of its parents.

This week, I flash back (again) to early summer, when I was visiting Seattle, 2 months before I moved here. On the morning of June 23, at the Montlake Fill, I pause on a small foot bridge that stretches across a narrow water way. Below, a very young BARN SWALLOW clings tightly to a thin branch that extends over the water. This swallow is so new to the world, that it appears completely clueless about what to do next. That is, until an adult swallow approaches with a food delivery. At that instant, the youngster’s mouth opens amazingly fast and wide, providing an easy target for the parent to find.

When I return the next day, the baby swallow is balancing on a branch about 3 feet from where it was the day before. My vantage point on the bridge gives me a wonderful photo opportunity. I’m slightly higher than the bird, I have an unobstructed, close up view, and the background is not too busy. Also, while I’m taking photos, I’m able to rest my elbows on the bridge railing, which helps stabilize my handheld camera. The little bird is still totally dependent on its parents, but today it seems to show a trace of confidence that wasn’t evident yesterday.

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About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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