Photo by Don McCullough, Flicker
One of the things that the Mission is famous for - the swallows - were not present during our visit. They migrate 15,000 miles from Goya, Argentina to San Juan Capistrano
every March 19th. Isn't it amazing that these creatures do the same thing every year at exactly the same time? Sort of like the Nordstrom's yearly sale... Anyway, they make nests under the eaves of the Mission buildings out of sand, silt and clay.
In these nests they lay eggs and in May the eggs hatch and out pop blind, naked baby swallows who remain in the nest until they are around 20 days old.
BUT WAIT A MINUTE...what's
that you say? The swallows don't come back to the Mission anymore?
You mean we spent 3 hours at this place and nobody told us this? Did they not think it was important?
They just acted like everything was normal and let us believe that those birds come back like clockwork every year? And to think that I almost bought a metal cut-out of a swallow for my Christmas tree at the gift shop.
So what's up? I had to go to an outside source (Mother Nature Network) to find out the real scoop. Turns out that the cliff swallows haven't come back to the Mission at San Juan Capistrano for a few
years, after two centuries of doing so. This seems important to me! Another result of global warming? Luckily not. The Mission was once the tallest building in the area, but due to urbanization there are many other places now for the
birds to nest. Specifically, a country club in Chino Hills. Bet all those golfers love that... They are trying to entice the swallows back to the Mission using recordings
of mating calls, but have had no real luck yet.