Wednesday 9 June 2010

Famed swallows of Capistrano nest in country club

CHINO HILLS, Calif. - The famous cliff swallows of Mission San Juan Capistrano have made a new home at a ritzy new country club.

The migratory birds that annually return to the historic Southern California church flew right past it this spring, choosing to make their nests at the new Vellano Country Club in Chino Hills, about 50 miles away. Thousands of the small birds have built their mud nests in the eaves of the clubhouse, the anchor of a year-old private community of 200 homes situated around a golf course.

"I saw a few one day and then it's like they went and told all their friends, 'Hey, I found the spot,'" facility director Travis Blaylock said.

For decades, a flock of thousands of cliff swallows returned to the mission after their annual migration to Argentina, delighting locals and tourists. The mission, founded in 1776, attracted birds when it was the tallest
structure in the area, but development in southern Orange County has led the birds to seek out other places to call home, mission officials said.

"They're still spotted here," mission spokeswoman Christina Haakenson said. "But the population is definitely down due to urbanization." The country club is located near 700 acres of rolling hills, and the golf
course and nearby creek provide all the mud and bugs the small birds need to build nests and feed their young.

Club staff works daily to remove the debris and bird droppings from the area where the birds have settled - luckily, a safe distance from the clubhouse's main entrance and the dining patio.

Blaylock said he keeps six extra shirts in his office, and has warned visitors to admire the nests and swooping swallows with their mouths closed. The colony is expected to begin its flight back to Argentina within two
weeks. Mission officials said they hope to lure the birds - and the tourists who return to see them each year - back to their longtime home. They're working with University of Tulsa, Oklahoma ornithologist Charles R. Brown to develop an ecological plan that help attract the birds.

Information from: The Orange County Register,

No comments:

Post a Comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails