Our Colorful History

Our Colorful History

We know and love the Swallows that return to San Juan Capistrano, but did you know that there are 75 different types of swallows worldwide? The ones with which we are most familiar are the Cliff Swallows which travel between Goya, Argentina and San Juan Capistrano and surrounding areas.

Swallows all over the world make the twice yearly migration from Southern Hemisphere to Northern Hemisphere and that migration is determined by food supply - as days grow shorter, food supplies decline so they go to where the days get longer. That’s why the migration is around the Spring Equinox and Fall Equinox.

They are very definitely territorial birds and almost always return to the same nesting site each year. They build mud pellet nests on buildings’ eaves and other structures. Of course the Mission San Juan Capistrano was the most common destination in this area for years and while our Mission is a lovely venue, it is likely that the birds were more attracted to the insects that hatched around the two nearby rivers and then took advantage of the tall Mission buildings which encouraged the colonized nesting.

The migrating Swallows travel in large flocks and cover about 200 miles a day mainly during daylight hours traveling up to 35 miles per hour. As they fly, they eat insects out of the air, with each bird consuming approximately 60 insects per hour.

San Juan’s colorful history has inspired books, films, songs, artwork and San Juan’s very own Annual Historic Melodrama. It also has had its share of villains and heroes in its early days just the same as it does now.

Early history of San Juan Capistrano was closely linked to Rancho Mission Viejo as the cattle grazing on the vast acreage were a major a revenue source for the area. The Playhouse partnered this year with the Ranch to include Plein Air artwork from sites on the ranch rarely seen by the public. This artwork on exhibit at the Playhouse recognizes the importance of the ranch to our history and to our future.

Enjoy the visual arts and performing arts as the Playhouse presents San Juan’s Dirty Laundry. This newest version of the play updates the roles of the real heroes and villains of the Modesta Avila story. It’s the tale of the young woman who fought for justice against the railroad with her clothesline!

Family friendly performances are February 19th through March 6th - CaminoRealPlayhouse.org.

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