In early May, this beautiful barn swallow arrived at @iowabirdrehab with a bad shoulder. This type of injury typically heals poorly, especially with migratory birds and aerial insectivores. While it's unknown how the bird was hurt, most likely she had just returned to Iowa after spending the winter in Central and South America, and was preparing to nest and raise young in Iowa for the summer.
One of the most acrobatic of all North American bird species, barn swallows feed on insects almost exclusively in flight, so perfect wings are essential for their survival. After 3 months in rehabilitation, she was finally well enough to be released in mid-August, and is flying free again! Hopefully she will feed well in the Iowa skies and gain some strength over the next few weeks before starting the long journey back south for the winter.
Iowa Bird Rehabilitation (IBR) admits all types of birds year round, from tiny hummingbirds to giant pelicans and everything in between. As word spreads of the work they do, their patient numbers have increased, and this year IBR expects to take in around 600 birds. The work is all volunteer and they receive no state or federal funding. The goal is simple but challenging: to rehabilitate and release all wild birds that come in.
To see a video of this barn swallow, check out @natgeo!
Those perfect little feathers.
Cliff Swallow. Searched, via canoe, for the perfect release site for this handsome fellow. The evening was quiet, the water still, reflections clear, and the sky filled with birds
No filter. Baltimore Oriole.
Broad Winged Hawk
Cedar Waxwing. I just love their bright red mouths!
Growing up! Nighthawk.
Baby season isn't over yet
Ruby Throated hummingbird
Great horned owl.
Screech owl nestling.
Releasing a pied billed grebe.
Great horned owl.
House sparrow among the house finches
I had a truly great experience this morning with an amazing photographer Joel Sartore, Photographer! @joelsartore
Joel is currently working on a 25 year long project documenting as many living species that are in human care. He travels the world, and even to tiny single person rehabbers such as myself!
What did I have that he did not yet have in his photo collection? A beautiful Barn Swallow! So on his travels through Iowa this morning, he stopped at my house and did a quick photo shoot of an adult Barn Swallow that was in my care. This adult had come in with an injured shoulder, and will soon be released, but before release she/he will now be remembered in a stunning photo until the end of time.
Why does Joel care about this? We could lose almost half the animal species on this planet by the turn of the next century. An absolutely horrific thought, but at the rate we are going this is a very likely scenario. Joel hopes to educate people, as well as bring awareness to this the fact that so many living species are going extinct at an alarming rate.
Please check out his amazing photos and support his cause!
And stay tuned for the final photo of the Barn Swallow!