The Barn Swallow is a common, but most beautiful backyard bird. The problem with Barn Swallows is they fly so fast, it is difficult to see and appreciate their beautiful colors. A group of Barn Swallows is known as a kettle.
Be as patient as you can, but look for chestnut underparts and the classic forked tail as they dart by inches above the ground or above the trees. The flight patterns are totally erratic, or at least appear to be to the casual backyard bird watcher. Taking pictures? Good luck. You'll need a great camera and a lot of luck to catch the speed Barn Swallow in flight. In fields, you can catch them occasionally landing. Snap away if you do!
Where you find Barn Swallows, you often find Purple Martins, a swallow cousin. In flight, they look similar, both darting and speeding by at amazing speeds while they consume countless insects. The Barn Swallow tail is more forked and the Barn Swallow has more colors than the Purple Martin. If it looks blue, it is likely a Purple Martin. If you can make out color variations, it is likely a Barn Swallow, unless you live in a location where other more similar birds exist.
Darting and erratic.
Nests from North Carolina and Arkansas to Canada and winters in the tropics.