Photo by Steve Jurvetson, CC BY 2.0

V9i6 Cliff Swallows

Narrated by Matt Davies Voiceover

Cliff swallows have taken over the Pasco side of the Ed Hendler Bridge, and have established dozens of mud nests on the angles and crevices of the bridge’s underside. These acrobatic and swift birds are a treat to observe as they swoop and soar near their nests throughout the day, showing off the skills they need to catch their insect prey.  

Some of the cliff swallows are still constructing their nests, while others are about to lay eggs. This will go on for the next few months as they usually lay more than one clutch per season.Their spectacularly unique nests are constructed from mud balls they form and transport over to their nest in their beaks. As you can imagine, these nests need regular maintenance and sometimes complete replacement, so you’ll be able to observe their funny little mud gathering ‘dance’ if you’re willing to find their mud source, usually no more than a quarter mile from the nest. 


Parking is available at Riverview Park in Pasco. From the parking area, walk up to the River trail and go east toward the visible Ed Hendler Bridge. This is a 0.4 mile walk with no shade cover until you get to the bridge. Along the way, you might spot yellow-bellied marmots to delight in as an added bonus. Further east, past the bridge and along the trail, there is a granite/countertop business which often has mud puddles around, which is where the swallows have been gathering mud for their nests. If you get within 25 feet of the cliff swallows, they will leave the area, so observe and photograph from a respectful distance.