San Ardo Swallows

The San Ardo Swallows can be found when driving the US 101 either north of Paso Robles or south of King City. Find the off ramp for San Ardo, take the ramp and park under the bridge. Now get out of the car and be patient for a couple of minutes.

San Ardo Swallows - US 101 California
Cliff Swallows Under the Bridge

Some people don’t know how long that is so, use a watch if you are uncertain. The reason I say wait, is that as you drive up, the San Ardo Swallows will all flee, and it takes a bit of time for them to get the courage to continue their day to day tasks with an invader (you) in the area. Anyway, if one patiently waits soon a few birds will appear, then more, and then even more. These are cliff swallows. You can see their nests on the bridges with the heaviest concentrations on the east side (closest to the river) At my house we always called them mud swallows, as they make their nests from mud. Well, cliff swallows is the real name so I guess we will stick with that for the San Ardo Swallows. Next, these birds are migratory. The fly back and forth between North and South America! Wow! What this important fact means is that you may come to the right place at the wrong time and you will see nothing. I check often when passing through as for me it is such a joy to see so many birds when they are active in our area. The nesting season is from mid February till late August. Early in the season the birds are making continuous trips from the Salinas river to the US 101 San Ardo bridge. It is inspiring to see hundreds of birds working so hard to create, enhance, and remodel their homes.

San Ardo Swallows - US 101 California
Aerial Condominiums

This amount of work became so evident to me when I turned away from the nests and watched hundreds of birds in flight coming and going to the nests. If you come after the chicks have hatched and you have binoculars or a nice telephoto you might, sometimes, see the youngsters poking their little heads out of the nest looking for mom and dad to bring lunch. This stop has always been fun for me for over the last twenty years. Remember this is a protected bird so no funny business, just enjoy the spring fun.

About The Author

Charles Carlin - Finding Roadside Oddities
Charles Carlin

Charley is a magnet for those slightly odd and one of a kind places, some of which you may have never heard about. Charley easily found all over the web. Just Google Charley Carlin for more insights. He can also be found via Reviews on YELPTrip Advisor, and Google Maps