Beautiful, Messy Guests

When the swallows return annually to build mud nests at San Juan Capistrano Mission in California, the spot attracts visitors from all over. Virginia Western has swallows, too, who have been raising their young in nests on the back of Brown Library. The nests are built close under the eaves but are visible from the grassy area behind the library and from the Reference floor, if you stand close to the back window and look upward. Capistrano’s swallows are cliff swallows; the library’s guests are barn swallows, we think. Both types of Hirundo rustica are rather messy but distinctive in color and shape.

—Sandra Kelly, Reference Assistant/Adjunct Instructor

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