Welcome Swallow luring prey with tail feathers?

To: birding-aus <>
Subject: Welcome Swallow luring prey with tail feathers?
From: jenny spry <>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2013 16:35:05 +1000
Hi all,

There is a new blog on my site about the Welcome Swallows that were feeding
on sub-surface prey (prey that was swimming more than 2 mm below the
surface of the water and not breaking the water surface) at the Western
Treatment Plant (Vic) in July 2012. It is more contentious, and not
possible to prove from what I saw, but it is possible that the swallows
were using their attenuated outer tail feathers to lure prey to the
surface. If not that, it is possible they were attempting to shade the
water where they were hunting.

The swallows moved from a near horizontal hovering position to a near
vertical hovering position and peered at the water. In this raised position
they would then lower to touch the tip of the attenuated outer tail
feathers to the water, creating a ripple, then raise up and repeat the tail
touch action, or alternatively return to a horizontal position whilst
still intently watching the water surface. On some occasions the bird would
drop and attack near where the tail had been touching, and other times the
bird would rise and turn back without attacking.

Further observation is clearly needed on this matter but for whichever
reason, attempting to block the sun or luring prey, the behaviour was
intentional and repeated on numerous occasions by multiple members of the
flock. Again, any feedback of similar sightings would be appreciated.

More details and a photo are at the link below.



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