Cave Swallows

Soon, if the precedent set in recent years holds true, there will be Cave Swallows reported in our region, possibly quite a few.

Cave Swallows were first confirmed in Ohio in 2005. For more details and photos, first-person accounts, vagrancy habits, thoughts on subspecies etc., of Cave Swallows in Ohio from that period of long ago, you can read this article, if you wish. Birders along the east coast of the US have been finding Cave Swallows in the fall months for a number of years. Ohio's first records in 2005 lagged a bit behind other states and provinces in the Lower Great Lakes Region, where Cave Swallows had been found in years previous to Ohio's first confirmed records.

Semi-conventional wisdom or prevailing opinion used to be that once wandering Cave Swallows struck south of Lake Erie they must drop dead or dissolve into the ether. But in 2008, Rick Asamoto and John Habig found two different groups of Cave Swallows at Rocky Fork State Park in Highland County, for what I think are the first records of the species away from Lake Erie or the near lake shore. Jay Lehman joined them at some point in the morning and they discovered that Cave Swallows were simultaneously flying at two locations on Rocky Fork Lake.

At least a few Cave Swallows found their way south last fall. Likely it will happen again; likely it has happened before Asamoto and Habig first discovered them last November. There is a lot of real estate to cover in southern Ohio and a few swallows--even a lot of swallows--could easily escape detection, even by serious birders, of which we have a number in this part of the state. Hopefully, southern Ohio birders will find Cave Swallows on some of the reservoirs, lakes, and rivers near them. In southwest Ohio and nearby Indiana, sites where one could imagine catching sight of a Cave Swallow on a blustery November day include East Fork Lake, Hueston Woods/Acton Lake, the Great Miami River, the Ohio River (possibly near hot water outlets on the rivers?), the Oxbow, Brookeville Lake, etc., etc. That's just to name a few, and even that short list comprises a lot of territory.