MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO
The Home of the Missing Swallows from Argentina
Internationally, Mission San Juan Capistrano is known as the seasonal home of the swallows. But not just any swallows! These are undocumented immigrants who come flying across the border every year, all the way from Argentina!
Hundreds of swallows normally show up around March 19 and stay until //////. But unfortunately, most of them have stoped coming!
People here believe that human urban development has driven the birds away from their natural nesting habitats. But I say it has something to do with our anti-immigrant rhetoric. LOL They have been spooked by our xenophobia!
Nevertheless, there have been many efforts to convince the swallows to return - with recordings of singing swallows over loudspeakers and even fake nests to save the birds the time and energy required to build one. But has been mostly in vain.
On this page, check out the ABC-TV video report on the Capistrano Swallows from June 19, 2017. --------->>>>>>>>>
When the Great Hispanic
American History Tour, arrived in this beautiful city, the first thing that became obvious was poor planning. I had not allotted enough time to explore the many attractions that deserve our attention here, and I had already booked our tour for other activities much further north in the Los Angeles area.
Mind you I was cursing myself, because I've seen photos of this particular mission and I was ready to confirm that this is indeed, as it is known, "The Jewel of the Missions." But as you can see from my photos on this page, all I was able to visit was the church, the Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, built in 1958.
It was late in the day, and by the time I reached the (separate) mission entrance, it was closed for the day. (Check out the map below to see the church, the quadrangular mission, and the many other attractions we must go back to visit in downtown San Juan Capistrano.
When readers have asked me for a copy of my travel itinerary for this California Road Trip, I usually get a good chuckle and then explain that it would be impossible to have any kind of rigid schedule, that if they are going to make this trip, instead of an itinerary, they what they will need is flexibility. Most of the places you will be visiting close at 5 p.m., some are close to the public for unannounced special events (especially weddings), and you can't accurately estimate your travel time on California highways. There are long delays everywhere you turn!
So this one time when I didn't follow my own advice. I was not flexible enough. I had already booked a hotel room for the next two nights in the Los Angeles area, and made plans to visit attractions there the following morning.
And so, the Great Hispanic American History Tour is making a list of California sites we must return to visit, and San Juan Capistrano is now on top, preferably around March 19, when the swallows could also by flying there. Even if the swallows don't show up, they always have a huge Mexican fiesta to receive them anyway.
For now, we should note that San Juan Capistrano was the 7th of California's 21 Spanish missions, and curiously, it was founded twice, first by //// //// in /// and again by ///// //// in ////.
San Juan Capistrano, 7th mission Named for Crusader Saint John of Capistrano and designed in the shape of a cross, the great stone church once held seven domes and a bell tower so tall it could be seen from ten miles away. Severely damaged by an 1812 earthquake, the ruins are currently being preserved by archaeologists and engineers. Ivy covers the broken walls, willows sway over the fountain in the quadrangle and orange Birds of Paradise grace the mission gardens. A gilded altarpiece illuminates the Serra Chapel of 1777, the oldest building still in use in California and the only surviving church where Father Serra said mass. Each year on St. Joseph's Day, March 19, the mission celebrates the return of the cliff swallows from Argentina with a traditional Mexican fiesta.