Sunday, August 5, 2012

Bringing Back the San Juan Capistrano Swallows

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Visitors come to witness the "miracle" of the return of the swallows

The Return of the Swallows The American Cliff Swallow is a migratory bird that spends its winters in Argentina and makes the 6,000-mile (10,000 km) trek north to the American Southwest in springtime. According to legend, the birds, who have visited the San Juan Capistrano area every summer for centuries, first took refuge at the Mission when an irate innkeeper began destroying their mud nests. The Mission's location near two rivers made it an ideal location for the swallows to nest, as there was a constant supply of the insects on which they feed, and the young birds are well-protected inside the ruins of the old stone church.

Bringing Back the Swallows Thirty years ago, the Cliff Swallows stopped migrating to the Mission at San Juan Capistrano, Calif., after it underwent renovations. But now biologists are trying to lure the swallows home by playing the birds’ courtship song just beneath the mission’s bell tower. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)

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Seeking Alpha