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Images captured last week at Loess Bluffs NWR in NW Missouri.  The bird in the middle is a young Barn Swallow.  Like all young Swallows, it'd open it's mouth anytime another bird would be near, as if to say "please shove a bug in there".  The two birds flanking it were being bullies and pecking at it, and in one instance even knocked it off it's perch.  The two lighter colored birds, are they even younger Barn Swallows that hadn't attained their "adult" plumage?  Or are they adults going through molting?

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The other two are older birds, possibly from farther south, perhaps MUCH farther south -- like Argentina, that have overshot their northern South American "winter" range. North American-produced Barn Swallows are not in plumages like this until after reaching their winter grounds in South America. I've written an essay on this problem, but it's not yet available online.

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