I don't know a whole lot about bank swallows specifically, but my
understanding is that swallows will often go some distance to gather
feathers for their nests. I have no geese/ducks/chickens in my
immediate vicinity, yet the tree swallows that nest on my property stuff
their nestboxes with white feathers from somewhere.
On 6/23/2011 5:55 PM, Charlotte Bill wrote:
> Last week, watching Bank Swallows fly over the Missisquoi River
> between Enosburg and East Berkshire, I noticed a swallow swoop down,
> grab a small ball of white “fluff” in its beak, and fly away.
> I also noticed several other small clumps of this white “fluff”
> skipping along the sandbar in the river a few feet downwind from six
> Ring-billed Gulls that were splashing in the river and preening on
> the sandbar.
> Then a Bank Swallow swooped in and grabbed another piece of “fluff.”
> The swallow flew out of sight far down-river.
> The Birders Handbook (Erhlich, Dobkin, and Wheye) identifies Bank
> Swallow nest material as including “… usu[ally] abundant feathers”
> Bank Swallows used to nest in this location but not for a few years,
> since the river bank slumped. Even though they no longer nest right
> here, swallows still work this particular section of the river -
> perhaps because of the presence of gulls and feathers?
> Charlotte Bill Enosburgh, VT