A question on logistics in Role Playing

Pull out your pack and head on down to the Prancing Pony for some great Role Playing (try to stay in character)!

Postby Wandering but not lost » Tue Jul 30, 2002 2:55 am

Hi, I should have asked this years ago but I was thinking for a while and I realized that I have no idea about how far a typical group of characters can walk in a day. While that may seem like a strange question, I think for a thread it is important to know how far you can walk in a day so that way you can estimate about how many days until you reach specific points on a map. I have a map, but I have usually just been "winging" walking speed. Can someone help me with this? How far do people travel if on the open road or wilderness etc if they travel about 16 hours- 18 hours? I think this is an important fact for the pony we need to know that I have neglected for quite some time.
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Postby Leoba » Tue Jul 30, 2002 4:11 am

It would depend on how fit the travellers are and how much kit they are carrying and on the terrain. I hope it’s okay if I just throw a couple of musings into the melting pot. <BR><BR><BR>I would hazard a guess that 20-25 miles in one day would be enough to tire anyone out (that was the average of the Roman army and then they’d build themselves a fortified camp at the end of the day). <BR><BR>When I’ve done cross country hiking (forest/moorland/completely impassable undergrowth) I reckon on doing about 3 or 4 km per hour.<BR><BR>I’m not sure about horseback off the top of my head, but when my internet connection is functioning properly (at home tonight) I’ll come back with that one too. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR>
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Postby Wandering but not lost » Tue Jul 30, 2002 4:48 am

Wow, thanks so much. 25 miles is a pretty easy number to work with so probably that is what I think it will be easy to use. That seems like barely anything though, lol. I was surprised to read it such a small number. Must just be that with cars we don't have an appreciation for distance anymore.
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Postby Novice » Tue Jul 30, 2002 5:08 am

Yep, 25 miles a day is really about the limit for someone travelling rough terrain and with a pack.<BR><BR>Riding is more complicated because it is so terrain dependent, but 50-60 miles through rough terrain is pretty good--of course, more is covered if the rider is travelling on a track or through cleared areas.<BR><BR><BR>60 miles is about the distance between towns with a pub in country areas (in Australia), because that's how far travellers could go in a day before they needed to put up for the night, so pubs sprang up first and towns followed.<BR>
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Postby erinhue » Tue Jul 30, 2002 5:13 am

That sounds right. I usually figure about 20 miles a day, depending upon what happens along the way.
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Postby EdaintheRanger » Tue Jul 30, 2002 5:14 am

Mate believe me when you are carrying the things that a adventurer/soldier needs to survive 25 miles a day is very good indeed. Then you can only really carry enough to be self sufficient for about three days. After that you need to resupply or live off the land. This accordingly will slow your journey time down considerably. Don't forget water, people need lots of water to survive: about 8 glasses a day is good, (4 pints? more if you are travelling on foot?)<BR><BR>Travelling on horse? Thanks for that Novice, that is really useful. I suppose on metalled roads you could move more quickly, but for the situation of a role-play rough ground is more likely.
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Postby Wandering but not lost » Tue Jul 30, 2002 5:23 am

You know, I think that maybe I should start a "basic facts thread- for more realistic RP" that would have a list of things like lunar cycles, traveling times, water consumption, cloud styles (what they mean), even things like wieght or items (like swords and such) though I admittedly only estimate much of this. Honestly, I used to use about a 35 mile estimate on walking or so. I am glad that was cleared up. Thank you.<BR><BR>Would anyone want to maybe work with me to make a thread like that? I think maybe we'd want to email for a while, do research on facts, and then just put a front page post with all those facts on it so that way they are easily accesible and not scattered. It may consist of links too for things like clouds and such (to weather sites maybe?) I mean, just little facts too that people can ask. I mean, I don't know if a rainbow appears away or towards the sun (its one or the other). Maybe that would be a fun project? Do an Question and Answer thread? Anyone want to email about that for a while. We'd need to prepair it before we post it though in order to make it of better quality and organization. Also, I need to do research... definitly...<BR><BR>Anyone have anyother ideas taht should be added?
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Postby Carnimiriel » Tue Jul 30, 2002 8:49 am

One thing to take into account is terrain - and I say this as someone who hikes in Switzerland and know just how much more slowly you go when on steep inclines!<BR><BR>I don't have any numbers to throw out, but say your characters are going over the Caradhras pass, you probably won't be doing 20 miles a day even if the sun is shining and there isn't a flake of snow.
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Postby nienor-niniel » Tue Jul 30, 2002 2:10 pm

Carnimiriel, next time you hike in switzerland, come to see me ( I live there) How many kilometers are a mile (disorientated west-European...)?
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Postby Allura_Starwind » Tue Jul 30, 2002 2:31 pm

There are 1.609344 Kilometers in a mile. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> Had to use all the decimal places I saw... interesting thread, btw
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Postby Carnimiriel » Thu Aug 01, 2002 7:26 am

Where in Switzerland do you live, nienor? My husband is originally from Lausanne (I'm American - we live in the U.S.) so we go there to visit his family just about every year. We went to the Swiss Expo in May.<BR><BR>It is such a beautiful country! We always say that one of these days we will bring home a small mountain, because Switzerland has so many that they would't miss one. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>It is relatively flat here in Indiana, so every time we go there we are amazed at how much longer it takes us to walk from place to place when the distances look close together on a map!<BR><BR>Though the same goes for any location with a lot of mountains - I recall hiking in a relatively small mountain range in the U.S. but the inclines were so steep that you were doing good to get in 6 miles per day (but this is with people who though relatively fit, don't do this every day - someone like Aragorn would get much further I'm sure).
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Postby Myrdock » Thu Aug 01, 2002 9:17 am

I just got back from Costa Rica, and we went for a long walk-about in the jungle there. It took us about seven hours to do five miles, but that was over some pretty rough terrain that went up and down alot in pouring rain and we had to ford quite a few rivers. So it really depends on the weather, terrain, etc. If you go walking on trails, 20-30 miles per day is pretty good, but I think the average Joe would find it hard to do even that. Once things get rough though, even a mile can take hours.
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Postby Snowdog » Thu Aug 01, 2002 9:58 am

Myrdock! Wow! There is a blast from the past! Good to see you!<BR><BR>On time/distance in RP, yes its a hard thing to stay in grasp of, but if the writers are good, then it usually works out well, with even some characters in different parts of the map being on different timelines. For a good reference on Middle Earth travel and time/distance, get the Atlas of Middle Earth by Karen Fonstadt. it breaks down the journey of Bilbo and the dwarves to the Lonely Mountain, and even more, the journey of the fellowship from Hobbiton to Mt Doom, giving distance travelled a day on one map. It also has average time/distance in MPH for walking, and riding a horse. Very good guide for adding some realism to RP.
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Postby Myrdock » Thu Aug 01, 2002 10:41 am

'Sup Snowdog <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>. Who knows? You might start to see more of me around here...but the boards are like a whole 'nother world!<BR><BR> Anyway, <BR><a target=new href="http://www.cix.co.uk/~morven/worldkit/worldkit.html">this worldkit</a> might be some help to you Wandering. It has some info on seasons, rotation of the earth, day/night, the sun, wind, etc., with stuff on Earth as well as ideas how to make other worlds (it's been a while since I was last in the Pony--are we only supposed to Roleplay inside Tolkien's world now?). There are some interesting links on it as well.<BR><BR> <a target=new href="http://www.epa.gov/safewater/kids/trivia.pdf">This</a> PDF file contains some facts about water, most of which probably won't interest you. But I think number 7 and 8 have some facts on water consumption for people, and there might be other useful tidbits elsewhere. <BR><BR>Anyway, thought I might help, in case anyone's interested.
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Postby Snowdog » Thu Aug 01, 2002 11:10 am

Yes, Tolkien, Tolkien-related, or Tolkienesque RP. The clutter of crap non-Tolkien (and Tolkien) RPs that were basicly one statement posts flooded the Pony, and so some guidelines for Rp has been enforced. One actually has to write substance into a post these days.
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Postby GlassHouse » Thu Aug 01, 2002 1:45 pm

I do a lot of hiking too. So I can tell that terrain and the amount of gear you need to carry are the biggest factors in determining how far you can reasonably walk in one day.<BR><BR>It's commonly said that average walking speed for an adult is about 4 mph, right?<BR>According to The AMC's (Appalachian Mountain Club's) <u>White Mountain Guide</u>, average hiking speed in the mountains is ONE mph. <BR><BR>A good day hike for me (with a 25 pound pack, 2 quarts of water making up 4 pounds of it) is 8 to 10 miles in about 10 hours, including stops for lunch and breaks.<BR><BR>I've talked to a lot of people on the trail who are doing the entire <b> Appalachian Trail</b> which runs over 2100 miles from Georgia to Maine. They generally agree with this web page I found. <BR><a target=new href="http://bfn.org/~bz729/thruhike.html">http://bfn.org/~bz729/thruhike.html</a><BR>They carry 40 to 50m pound packs and average 15 - 18 miles per day. <BR>(pretty darned good if you ask me)<BR><BR>Here's an except from a typical thru-hiker's web page.<BR><BR><i>"A typical day would have us up before the sun and eating breakfast, fixing our feet and packing up camp. Then getting on the trail by 7:30 or 8:00 (when all went well). We would then hike all day taking short rest breaks when we would sit down and eat a snack (Snickers bars, Gorp, Fig Newtons, etc.). "Lunch" was usually a longer break with a bigger snack (eg. peanut butter and pop-tarts, ). We would stop hiking somewhere between 4 and 6 pm and would immediately get, water, set up our sleeping gear and get supper started. After eating we hung our food and racked out by 8:00. We would usually stay in shelters (three sided structures erected by local trail clubs) which are spaced about a day's hike along the trail. <BR><BR>Every five to ten days we would go into a town and stay at a hostel or a motel. These rest days were used to pick up food and supplies which were sent to post offices in towns near the trail by Karla Przbyszewski, who was the logistical coordinator. We would usually hitchhike from the trail into town and leave with about five days of food, ideally."</i>
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Postby Snowdog » Thu Aug 01, 2002 5:53 pm

Well, I can say from my hikes to High Box Lake in Alpine Lakes Wilderness that it took all day from sun up to sunset in summer to go 3 miles. Of cwe went offtrail, and at one point made a quarter mile in one hour through devils club and vining maple, and then going up a seroius grade on a rockslide area. All this with the 50 pounds on the back. Yes... terrain does make a difference.
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Postby vincent » Thu Aug 01, 2002 6:40 pm

I have a lot of backpacking friends and my father is a backpacker, and know from planing trips and such that with a 50 pound pack A person in good shape can hike 20 miles a day, this is what we plan on when we decide how much food to take,and where, and when the backpacker needs to be picked up. keep in mind that a modern backpacker doesnt carry the same things a middle earth character would carry, no gortex backpacks and high energy bars, which does make a big diffrence. also if you don't eat right you won't make even 20 miles, food is very important, also water i never carry more then a litter of water with me, though i do always have iodine tablets to clean water, a middle earth charter wouldnt carry much water unless he had a hourse,water is really, really heavy, even things with water in them are not taken.<BR>Now as too how far an army can travel in a day we need to look at historical armies, A roman arrmy could travel 20 miles a day, but that was on roads, with a relieble supplies. The averge army moved about 12-15 miles a day on foot, 20 miles would be the fastest an army would travel, even with horses. I've read accounts of armies moving 100 miles in 3 days, but that was forced marches and left that army exhusted. <BR>Oh and a lot of the backpacking examples were at high altitudes in the cascades, and often in "rough terrain" well above the tree line, and often in severe cold, you havn't lived untill you've been caught in a blizard in augest, wearing shorts, and t-shirts. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0>
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Postby Tanith » Thu Aug 01, 2002 8:24 pm

As a rabid hiker myself I'd have to agree and confirm the accuracy of the above. Wow, i never knew RPers could be so pedantic with information like this! Thats meant in a good way, of course. I'll have to reread my posts now, for fear of sending a small party of halflings holding twice their weight in luggage on a 92 mile hike in half a day.... hehe <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Tanith.
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Postby vincent » Thu Aug 01, 2002 9:03 pm

Hey i'm not pedantic! Well not too pedantic anyway<img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0> I talked to jaxon on yahoo just a while ago about how far a horse can travel, since she owns horses, she says the longest shes gone with her horses is about 30 kilometers, which i belive is about 45 miles roughly, (I dont feel like looking it up at the moment)She did say however that that was just her horse, they have long distance races with horses that are bred for long walks, that are 100k that last for about 16 hours as far as she can remember, but those are special horses bred to do that, and without anything but the rider on them, she said her horse would stop at 50k. personaly i think 45 miles sounds about right for a normal journy on horse back.
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Postby GlassHouse » Fri Aug 02, 2002 4:50 am

<BR>Pedantic? ME?<BR><BR>35 Kilometers = 21.747992 Miles<BR>or 173.98395 Furlongs<BR>or 7.249331 League<BR>or 6,959.358 Rods <BR>or 153,105.861767 Spans <BR>or 3,500,000 Centimeters<BR><BR>Not a human calcutator, just have this conversion page bookmarked <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR><a target=new href="http://www.onlineconversion.com/">http://www.onlineconversion.com/</a><BR><BR>Snowdog, boy anm I glad I wasn't on <i>that</i> hike!
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Postby Snowdog » Fri Aug 02, 2002 8:48 am

<br><br><< <i>Snowdog, boy anm I glad I wasn't on that hike! </i> >><br><br>It is a hard road, but the payoff is sitting by a peaceful lake with NOBODY around, and the trout are fat and ready to be caught, yet gives challenge as they are easily spooked by movement. Sore I could hike 20 miles down a trail to a lake where there are others camped and yelling and drinking and such.. but then I can hike to the cormer bar if I want that. I will stick to the extreme as ling as my body is able. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Thanks glass for the conversion site!
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Postby Wandering but not lost » Fri Aug 02, 2002 1:03 pm

Wow, thanks to Myrdoc too. That site is a great one with tons of info. If not for here, than for my novel if anything. This site has been great! I've learned a lot of info from it and I think it is a good site for everyone to read. Very helpful
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Postby Myrdock » Fri Aug 02, 2002 3:59 pm

In keeping with the pattern <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0>....thanks to Wandering! Glad I could be of some help!
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Postby Tanith » Fri Aug 02, 2002 9:16 pm

Hehe... Glasshouse, pendantic? I wouldn't dare suggest it! <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-wink.gif"border=0> Its great to see people putting such effort into the validity of their Rping. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-happy.gif"border=0><BR><BR>Tanith.
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Postby Wandering but not lost » Sat Aug 03, 2002 1:57 am

I am glad. I do not know if you are new or a secret id, Tanith. But, if you are new then I hope you can benefit by the example of many of these fine posters. I have been here for 2.5 years and I still learn from how great some of these people post.
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Postby Running-Deer » Mon Aug 26, 2002 3:20 pm

I find this very interesting and glad that someone has finally done this. I make it an honorable mention!
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Postby Rholarowyn » Mon Aug 26, 2002 5:15 pm

<BR>I found this site because Running Dear's had it in her signiture info. I can answer the rainbow question.<BR><BR>A rainbow will always appear opposite the sun. So if the sun is in the west, and it is raining in the east, you will see a rainbow in the east. If the sun is in the west and it is raining in the north or south, but not in the east, you will not see a rainbow. <BR><BR>I'm sure there is a scientific name to explain this, but I have no idea what it is. I've just learned this from living in the country.<BR><BR>To test this, you can practice with your garden hose. <img src="http://www.tolkienonline.com/mb/i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0><BR><BR><BR>Edited to add~<BR>After posting this, I realized that a rainbow will never appear in the south.<BR><BR>
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Postby Muccamukk » Wed Sep 04, 2002 9:23 pm

Ah, but what is the average wing speed of an unladen European Swallow?
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Postby vincent » Thu Sep 05, 2002 6:45 am

Well after a lot of study i've come to the conclusion that there is no european swallow, it is a common barn swallow (Hirundo rustica} that you refer too. Now i could be wrong, and if any bird people know better go ahead and correct me. <BR>The Airspeed of A common barn swallow is about 38 knots. About 43 mph i believe, once again I could be wrong.<BR>This is of course assuming its an unladen swallow, i did find reports on the effect of weight, and drag, on airspeed for birds but it was much diffrent for diffrent spieces, and the only birds studied were falcons, and other birds of prey and would have little in common with a swallow. <BR><BR><BR>Geographic Range<BR>Barn swallows are a wide ranging species found in North and South America as well as Europe and Asia. They are migratory birds, traveling from northern regions such as North America to southern regions such as South America in late July through October, then returning to their original northern region again in early April. Migratory routes as long as 7,000 miles, from Alaska to Argentina, have been recorded (Terres, 1980). <BR><BR>Native: Palearctic, Nearctic, Oriental, Holarctic<BR><BR>^ Physical Description<BR>Barn swallows range in size from 14.6 to 19.9 cm long, with a wingspan of 31.8 to 34.3 cm. Males are blue/black dorsally, and light ventrally, with a reddish-brown forehead and breast. Females are typically less vibrantly colored. Barn swallows are the only swallow species with white-spotted forked tails (Terres, 1980). <BR>Airspeed: about 38 knots<BR>Asymmetry of physical characteristics tends to be transmitted to the young in distinct parent to offspring patterns. Tail asymmetry tends to pass from father to son and from mother to daughter. Alternatively, wing asymmetry does not appear to transfer at all on a reliable basis from parent to offspring (Moller, 1994). <BR><BR>Length: 14.6 to 19.9 cm<BR>Wingspan: 31.8 to 34.3 cm<BR><BR>male more colorful; bilateral symmetry<BR><BR>^ Lifepsan/Longevity<BR>The average lifespan of barn swallows is 4 years. Barn swallows of 6 and 7 years of age have been documented, but these ages are considered the exception (Perrins, 1989; Terres, 1980). Survival prospects and therefore longevity appears to increase with increasing tail length and increasing wing and tail symmetry (Moller, 1994). <BR><BR>Max Lifespan In Wild: 7 years (max)<BR>Expected Lifespan In Wild: 4 years (average)<BR><BR><BR><BR>^ Predation<BR>Most birds of prey will attack barn swallow nests, killing the young and damaging the nest. These predators are not unique to barn swallows (Barker et al., 1994). <BR><BR>Predators:<BR>Raptors <BR>^ Ecosystem Roles<BR>Although incidents of cowbirds parasitizing barn swallow nests are rare, they have been documented. A 1994 observation of 67 Barn Swallow nests found two of these nests to contain cowbird eggs, which were laid by the parent cowbird and left in the Barn Swallow nest in a parasitic fashion for the barn swallows to raise. Each of these nests contained 1 cowbird egg and both eggs were incubated by the barn swallows along with their own eggs. However, only one of the cowbird eggs hatched. The single Cowbird hatchling fledged normally, thus demonstrating that Barn swallows are capable of acting as cowbird hosts (Wolfe, 1994). <BR><BR>Barn swallows frequently engage in a symbiotic relationship with ospreys (Pandion haliaetus), coexisting in a single nesting area to the mutual benefit of both species. Barn swallows will nest either below a much larger osprey nest or in a portion of an abandoned osprey nest. By nesting near an osprey population, the barn swallows receive protection from birds of prey, which are driven away from the nests by the much larger ospreys. In return, ospreys are alerted to the presence of these predators by the barn swallows as ospreys will respond to the alarm calls of other bird species (Barker et al., 1994). <BR><BR>Symbionts<BR>Osprey (~Pandion haliaetus~) <BR>^ Food Habits<BR>Insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, beetles, and moths are the primary food sources, and are preferably caught while the swallows are in flight. Barn swallows are quite opportunistic, and have been observed following tractors engaged in plowing or mowing, so as to take advantage of the insect populations thus disturbed. Drinking is accomplished by skimming the surface of water while flying (Terres, 1980). <BR><BR>Competition between different species while feeding is avoided by a shift towards consumption of certain types of insects unexploited by other birds. For example, Barn swallows living in close proximity with sand martins (Riparia riparia) will primarily pursue large flies, leaving smaller species of fly to the sand martins (Perrins, 1989). <BR><BR>Insectivore (insects)<BR><BR>^ Reproduction<BR>Reproduction begins in the spring, coincident with an increase in insect populations. Eggs are laid at daily intervals, and two clutches are typically produced each season (Perrins, 1989). Incubation of barn swallow eggs occurs over a 13 to 17 day period. The typical clutch size is 5. The young first fly 18 to 23 days after hatching, but remain in the nest for 11 additional days after this initial flight (McWilliams, 2000, Terres, 1980). <BR><BR>Breeding season: Spring<BR>Breeding interval: Usually twice per season<BR><BR>Number Produced: 5 (average)<BR>Gestation Period: 13 to 17 days<BR>Weaning: 18 to 23 days<BR><BR><BR>Iteroparous; seasonal breeding; sexual; internal; oviparous<BR><BR>Reproduction is preceded by mate selection, which is initiated by displays from the males. In most cases barn swallows mate for life. <BR><BR>Sexual selection in barn swallows has been researched extensively. Moller (1994) documented female barn swallows selecting for symmetrical wings and tails in potential mates. Males exhibiting greater symmetry acquired mates more quickly than did asymmetric males. Asymmetry can result from genetic factors such as inbreeding or mutations as well as from environmental stress such as food deficiency, parasite infestation, or the presence of pathogens. Moller (1994) observed that individuals affected by these factors not only exhibited asymmetry, but also decreased strength and longevity, hence the advantage for females selecting against asymmetric individuals when choosing a mate. In addition to selecting for symmetry, females also have a tendency to select males with longer tail feathers. Moller (1994) observed a connection between the tail length of male barn swallows and their offspring’s vitality and longevity. Males with longer tail feathers exhibit traits of greater longevity which is passed on to their offspring. Females thus gain an indirect fitness benefit from this form of selection, as longer tail feathers indicate a genetically stronger individual who will produce offspring with enhanced vitality (Moller, 1994). Individuals with greater tail length have also been observed to demonstrate greater disease resistance than their short-tailed counterparts (Bolzern et al., 1997). The extent of a female’s reproductive effort in terms of nestling care is also dependent upon the presence of desirable characteristics in her mate. By such differential allocation of reproductive investment, females are able to both maintain attractive mates and invest their energy expenditure in offspring of greater vitality (DeLope and Moller, 1993). The presence of secondary sex characteristics is not exclusive to male barn swallows, however. A direct correlation has been drawn between tail length in females and reproductive success as well as mate quality. Females with longer tails tend to lay clutches earlier, as a result of obtaining a mate more rapidly. Greater tail length also increases a female’s chance of securing a desirable mate. This suggests that male barn swallows engage in sexual selection as well (Moller, 1993). <BR><BR>Monogamous; cooperative breeder<BR><BR>During their stay in the nest, the young are fed by both parents. Barn swallows feed their hatchlings insects compressed into a pellet, which is transported to the nest in the parent’s throat. Up to 400 feedings a day may be administered to the hatchlings, which equates to nearly 8,000 insects (Terres, 1980). <BR><BR>Although all swallows are monogamous, barn swallows differ from most swallow species in the sharing of parental care. Juveniles from the first brood of the season have even been known to assist their parents in feeding the second brood (Perrins, 1989) <BR><BR>Young altricial; male parental care; female parental care<BR><BR>^ Behavior<BR>While barn swallows are not exclusively colonial, they do exhibit a tendency to nest in colony-like formation. A common hypothesis for colonization lies in improved foraging conditions, in which unsuccessful foragers are able to follow successful foragers to prime feeding areas. Hebblethwaite and Shields (1990), however, demonstrated that barn swallows lack the key behaviors necessary to support this hypothesis, despite their clear preference for colonial nesting. While departures for feeding were observed to occur in large groups, the directions pursued by the departing barn swallows were random enough to suggest a lack of continuity in destination. Also, there was no pattern of certain individuals following others that was evident. These observations suggest that the tendency of barn swallows to form colonies lies in a concentration of quality nesting sites rather than in feeding benefits (Hebblethwaite and Shields, 1990). <BR><BR>Like most birds, barn swallows engage in frequent preening behavior. Moller (1991) sought to determine if frequency of preening is related to levels of infection with the mite Ornithonyssus bursa. Interestingly enough, preening did not increase in adult barn swallows with an increasing degree of infection. In juvenile barn swallows, however, as mite levels increased, preening behavior increased as well. This could be attributed to greater sensitivity on the part of the juveniles, as well as to continual exposure to these mites because they constantly remain in the infected nest (Moller, 1991). <BR><BR>Diurnal; motile; migratory; colonial<BR><BR>^ Habitat<BR>Barn swallows are very adaptable birds and can nest anywhere a sheltered ledge is available. They seek out agricultural areas and are most commonly found in barns or other outbuildings, though they will also nest under bridges, eaves of old houses, and boat docks, as well as in rock caves and even slow-moving trains (McWilliams, 2000; Terres, 1980) While migrating they tend to fly over open areas, often near water or along mountain ridges (McWilliams, 2000). <BR><BR>Temperate, terrestrial; savanna or grassland, forest; urban, suburban, agricultural<BR><BR>^ Economic Importance for Humans<BR><BR>^ Positive<BR>Barn swallows are quite effective in reducing insect pest populations. They also can serve as an indicator or trigger organism, indicating possible environmental trouble, as declines in their relatively abundant numbers may proceed other, more obvious, effects of environmental stress (Moore, 2001; Perrins, 1989). <BR><BR>Controls pest population<BR><BR><BR>^ Negative<BR>When nesting in urban areas, if their colonies are large enough, Barn swallows can create detrimental cleanliness and health issues for humans (Perrins, 1989). Also, salmonella can be transmitted through their feces, which poses a threat to livestock living in close proximity to barn swallow colonies. <BR><BR>Causes or carries domestic animal disease<BR><BR>^ Conservation<BR>Barn swallow populations are generally considered to be stable and sufficiently extensive. However, declines in the amount of acreage devoted to agriculture in recent years have resulted in reduced barn swallow numbers. This can be attributed to a reduction in habitat as the barns and outbuildings which once housed barn swallows, give way to more urban settings. Another contributing factor is the reduction in food supply. Insects attracted by the presence of livestock and the ideal surrounding habitat are the primary food source for barn swallows existing in agricultural areas. Locations where farming has ceased exhibit a 50% reduction in insect populations. This decline in barn swallow numbers can be viewed as an indication of a possibly larger environmental problem resulting from the increase in urban areas and the cessation of agriculture (Moore, 2001). <BR><BR>Status:<BR><BR>IUCN: No special status <BR>U.S. ESA: No special status <BR>U.S. MBTA: Protected <BR>CITES: No special status
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