Nebraska Ornithologists' Union



Linda R. Brown

Date of this Version



Linda R. Brown, "Review of Swallow Summer by Charles R. Brown" in Nebraska Bird Review (June 1999) 67(2).


Copyright 1999, Nebraska Ornithologists' Union. Used by permission.


Swallow Summer is a first-person, day-to-day account of Charles and Mary Bomberger Browns' fourteenth field season studying Cliff Swallows in western Nebraska. This story also concerns the three bright undergraduate field assistants who shared the experience of the summer of 1995. Charles communicates their discoveries of Cliff Swallow colony behavior in an everyday conversational manner. It was easy for me to catch the excitement they feel in "discovering the questions." I felt their wonder when as this very cold late breeding season slowly progressed, these researchers discovered that indeed many of the swallows were not breeding at all. This rather large contingent of non-breeders in bright plumage seemed to cruise through many colonies, perhaps checking to see where they might have reproductive success in the future. I am "in awe" at what can be learned when over half the individuals in many of the study colonies are banded. During this summer the 80,000th swallow was banded, and two eleven-year-old adults were recaptured.