Cave Swallow
Petrochelidon fulva
The Cave Swallow (Petrochelidon fulva) breeds across a wide area of Texas as well as south Florida. It winters in parts of the breeding range in central and south Texas as well as parts of Mexico and the Caribbean region. Until the 1970s, the species, at least within Texas, was thought to nest only in limestone caves and caverns in the Texas Hill Country as well as places such as Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. With the advent of the Interstate Highway System, man created artificial caves (which we call overpasses and underpasses) for these birds and their population exploded in that area. In recent years the species has taken advantage of more and more nesting locations such as picnic table shelters, carports, etc. The bird does still nest in natural caves as well! The first two shots here were taken in October, 1987, at Kickapoo Caverns, Kinney Co., Texas, in Green Cave. That cave now is named Stuart Cave. These birds were roosting on their nests from the previous breeding season. These shots were taken with a Minolta X-570 body and a Vivitar 400mm F/5.6 lens with a flash, on Kodachrome 200 film.
The young Cave Swallows peering from their nest were taken at the same location as above, but in May, 1990. A Canon T-90 and Canon FD 400mm F/4.5 lens and flash was used.
The two shots shown here were taken at the same location as the above shots, but in May, 1991.
These two Cave Swallows were looking out of an old Cliff Swallow nest under a carport in southern Kenedy Co., Texas, in February, 1998. Cave Swallows do not use the round, globe type nest which the closely-related Cliff Swallow builds, but Cave Swallows will modify old Cliff Swallow nests to their own preferences.
The next 6 shots were taken in Austin, Travis Co., Texas, in September, 2007, with a Canon EOS 1D Mark III and EF 500mm F/4 L IS lens and 2X extender. This is a juvenile bird, probably fledged within the past few weeks or so. The species is known to nest near this location.