Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat

Barn Swallow
Nest Cam

Several barn swallow nests are being videotaped for varying lengths of time. All are in artificial nests. At two nests, the camera was placed directly over the nest through a hole in the floor above the nest. Other nests are viewed from the side.

Check the 2004 trial study of the weather cam and quad processor at the bottom of this page

The following still photos are taken from a single frame of video from the 6 hr vhs tapes. This process results in a substantial loss of quality compared to the original camera image and vhs tape.

2001 Barn Swallow Nest Cams





2004 Barn Swallow Feeding Study

This was only a very preliminary look at equipment and methodology to compare barn swallow feeding visits to weather. In previous years, I had kept daily weather records, but realtime weather records superimposed on the swallow nest video would be much more informative. The very low tech weather cam consisted of the spinning cup mechanism from a broken anemometer, a large funnel to concentrate rain and drip on a movable flap, and a dial thermometer. This provided an accurate temperature reading and an estimate of wind speed and rain fall. The visual anemometer was quite sensitive and easy to see in the video. The rainfall indicator could be improved as far as visibility, especially in infrared lighting when used for bat video.

Barn swallows, being aerial insectivores, have difficulty catching enough insects to feed their young during bad weather. The effect of prolonged severe weather is demonstrated by nesting failures. But, frequent brief bouts of cold wet weather may also have an effect on nestling growth and fledging success. Monitoring the number of feeding visits at up to three same age nests as well as current weather conditions can be done by using a quad processor and vcr. I review the tapes in fast forward, sometimes watching only one nest at a time, since some feeding visits are of such short duration that they may be missed if trying to monitor all three quadrants of the screen simultaneously. Another option is to review the tape in realtime and watch all 3 nests at once, pausing the tape whenever necessary to enter data. Old fashioned hand counters are useful for tallying feeding visits without taking your eyes off the screen. Blood cell counters allow entering separate totals for each nest.

The weather cam

closeup of the weather cam

quad view - feeding visit at lower left.

quad cam - feeding visit at upper right.

Barn swallow nest cups
A new barn swallow shelter
2019-2020 barn swallow nesting
2012 barn swallow nesting
2012 barn swallow prey cam
Using artificial nest cups
2015-2016 barn swallow nesting
Attracting barn swallows
The Barn Swallow
barn swallow basics
Transplanting a barn swallow nest
2001 testing nest cups
barn swallow shelters

2022 update - Return of the barn owls
2021 Chimney Swift tower success!!!
2020 Barn Swallow nesting
Barn swallow nest cups
2019 Barn Swallows and Black Rat Snakes

2018 - The Barnyard Balance of Nature Goes Awry
Black rat snakes vs barn swallows, Northern flickers, kestrels and others

2018 Purple Martin preference for clam shells
2017 - Return of the Monarchs!
2017 Purple Martin prey photos
2010 - 2016 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
2019-2020 Purple Martin nesting
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
2016-2017 Kestrel nestings
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
barn owl American kestrel purple martin barn swallow Eastern bluebird
tufted titmouse Eastern phoebe yellow shafted flicker tree swallow chimney swift
house wren big brown bat Carolina wren brown thrasher catbird
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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© 2001 - 2013, American Artifacts and Richard Van Vleck, Taneytown, Maryland.