Swallows Say Goodbye to Mission, Hello Country Club

Usually every March, thousands of the migratory birds flock to historic Mission San Juan Capistrano.

By Scott Weber
|  Monday, Jun 7, 2010  |  Updated 4:03 PM PDT
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When it comes to accommodations for a colony of San Juan Capistrano cliff swallows, there's a new pecking order.

Usually every March, thousands of the migratory birds flock to historic Mission San Juan Capistrano.

That was until they discovered the new Vellano Country Club. Then the birds of a feather flocked to new digs.

According to the Orange County Register:

Facility director Travis Blaylock says the birds' arrival took everyone by surprise.

"I saw a few one day and then it's like they went and told all their friends, 'Hey, I found the spot,'" he says. Soon, thousands of swallows were busily building their conical mud nests.

At first, management debated ways to get rid of the birds but later decided to let them stay.

Despite the somewhat messy circumstances, Blaylock says there have been few complaints from club members. Some patrons have told him the birds are a sign of good luck. Chicks began hatching in recent days, and Blaylock expects the colony will begin its long journey back to Argentina within two weeks.

"It's very peaceful here," he says while classical music plays overhead. "You could take a nap on the patio while listening to the birds sing."

Club staffers work each day to remove debris and bird waste to keep things tidy for the new tenants. Human guests will be glad to know the birds have been careful to avoid the clubhouse's main entrance and the dining patio, the Register said.

The Country Club says they are happy to welcome back the swallows should they return next year.

"We have everything they need right here at the clubhouse," Blaylock told the Register. "Why would they go anywhere else?"
 

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