Want to see something cute? When I visited the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive on Memorial Day, I came across a branchful of baby Barn Swallows. They were old enough to fly, but Mom was clearly still taking care of them. While she flew around gathering insects, the babies perched in a row and waited. Every time Mom flew by, she was welcomed with a chorus of cheeps and a bunch of hungry mouths. They were just adorable. I had such a blast watching this little family.
Two of the babies kind of cuddled together while they sat waiting on the branch. It sure takes Mom a long time to come back! What else is a baby bird supposed to do in the Florida summer heat?
A quick fly-by from Mom was all it took for these two to spring into action. Mom! over here! come feed us! (They were almost as persistent as my cat Squirt. Almost.)
Sometimes Mom was just checking up on them. But sometimes, she had food. Then the begging went into high gear!
Can you imagine being greeted this way?
Here’s Mom. (Or Dad. I just assume she’s a mom. No offense, dads!) If you look closely at her mouth, you’ll see the little green bug that she’s carrying. Such beautiful blue feathers and look at that forked tail!
This particular bug was for the baby on the left. During the time that I watched, she flew in with a morsel for each of the babies. It’s so hard to capture the action sequences because the birds fly so fast. Again, if you look very closely, you’ll see the little green bug as it is transferred into the baby’s mouth.
After the babies ate, they just sat there quietly. It was like they were digesting. Portrait time! The following photo is a combination of two images, merged to keep the babies in focus but the background out of focus.
Here’s one final look at the brave mother. I don’t think I’d want to stick my beak down the gaping throat of one of these babies! I really admired her as she worked so hard to feed her family. It’s a good thing that the Lake Apopka wetlands are full of bugs. She’ll need all that she can find to keep this crowd happy!
These guys were so cute! Often it’s a challenge to photograph swallows because they never seem to sit still. They fly so quickly that it’s really hard to catch them in flight. So having a captive, photogenic audience was quite a pleasure. I couldn’t wait to go back. Which I did, as you’ll read about in the next post!
Want to learn more about nature photography at Lake Apopka?
Check out my Lake Apopka page with more information about the location, map, website, photography tips, etc. It is archived by date so you can see my images from previous visits. Maybe you'll be inspired for your own trip!
Planning a trip to Florida? Don't miss my Central Florida Bird Photography Locations reference guide!