Enticing the swallows to Capistrano

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swallows 425 11 Enticing the swallows to Capistrano

(Image: AP)

(AP) – Legend has it that migrating swallows once darkened the skies on arrival each spring at Mission San Juan Capistrano.

For decades, however, cliff swallows building mud nests under the mission eaves have dwindled, disappointing visitors who attend festivities celebrating the birds’ traditional arrival date, St. Joseph’s Day on March 19.

The Orange County Register says the mission is now playing recorded swallow courtship songs four hours a day on weekdays to lure them back.

University of Tulsa biology professor Charles Brown says using bird calls to attract them is backed by research.

There aren’t any nests yet, but mission development director Barb Beier says there were a few swallows flying overhead on Monday.

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