Posts tagged ‘Barn’

How did the barn swallow get its name?

The barn swallow gets its name because it often makes its nest on a rafter in a barn or shed, building it up of dabs of mud and lining it with soft feathers.

Before man built houses and barns, the barn swallows nested on cliff ledges or on sheltered tree branches.

The small, graceful swallow is one of our best-known birds.  It has long, powerful wings and spends much of its time in flight looking for small flying insects, which it scoops up in its big mouth.

Barn Swallow

Its small feet are suited more for perching than for walking.  Its long tail, which is often forked, is especially helpful in making sudden turns, as it pursues the insects.

Swallows usually return year after year to the same nesting sites, often to the same nests.  Few signs of spring are more certain than the appearance of swallows.

But the popular idea that swallows may return to a certain place on the same day each spring is just an old folk tale.

The day of their spring arrival depends on the abundance of insects in the air, which in turn depends on warm weather. – Dick Rogers

How do paper wasps make their paper?

Paper wasps build their nests out of paper.  The paper wasp makes its paper by chewing tiny pieces of wood and mixing the pulp with saliva in this mouth.

The wet paper paste is then patted, pulled and stretched to form rows of cells, like those of a bee’s honeycomb.  When the pulp dries, it becomes paper—something like the paper your newspaper is made of.

Paper Wasp

Each cell in the paper wasp’s nest  is a nursery in which a baby wasp will grow.  Hornets and yellow jackets make paper nests, too.

The paper nests are sometimes hung from tree branches or stuck beneath the rafter of an old barn.  They may also be built in the holes in the ground.

Not all wasps make paper nests.  The carpenter wasp bores holes in trees or old posts.  The mud wasp builds a nest of mud.  The cuckoo wasp doesn’t build a nest.  It lays its eggs in a mud wasp’s nest while the occupant is away. – Dick Rogers