Capistrano Excitement: Nesting Swallows

The iconic birds are making a home at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

IF YOU KNOW SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, YOU KNOW... it's gorgeous. Really gorgeous, and the perfect air and the sunlight should be bottled, and on that bottle the words "soft and breezy" should be printed. You also know that the train runs right through it, that the Los Rios Historic District is home to a bevy of structures from the 1800s, and the ZOOMARS petting zoo has some of the cutest, most-stroke-able sweeties around. What else is in your bank of Capistrano-related knowledge? You surely, 100%, and definitely know there happens to be, plunk in the middle of all the bustling action, one of the Golden State's famous missions, a treasure of an historical site, a location that is very much associated with the avian world. If you just excitedly said "swallows!" you're correct, for...

MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO... and the late-winter return of the swallows is as storied as California stories come. St. Joseph's Day, March 19, is the traditionally observed swallows-return date, and even if few swallows are seen on March 19, it is still an occasion held close to the heart of many a mission maven. And while there is a Fiesta de las Golondrinas each March in San Juan Capistrano, and a full-on Swallows' Day observation, finding swallows nowadays has been... trickier. A 90's-era restoration on the grounds of the mission meant the swallows' nesting areas were disrupted, leading to a drop in returning birds. But a host of means to invite the birds back in greater numbers, including faux nests made of plaster, have been employed in recent years. And the result?

A JOY-FILLED VIDEO, straight from the mission and posted on Wednesday, May 3, revealing an actual cliff swallows' nest nestled in a centuries-old wall. For a peek at the wee nest, which takes many mud pellets to build, and to hear more about the effort to bring the swallows back to Mission San Juan Capistrano, give a quick watch and learn more from the mission's executive director Mechelle Lawrence Adams and Megan Dukett, the education program manager.

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