Monday, August 20, 2012

Wings ... and a pile of poop

Every year, barn swallows try to build nests on our front porch.  We try to dissuade them, because we really don't like to be dive-bombed every time we come and go from our house, and we especially don't like the pile of poop they leave on the porch.  We've found that it works best if we just knock down the start of their nest every day, until they finally give up. 

This year, they snuck in and built their entire nest in one day, while we weren't looking.  Once the nest is complete, we leave it alone, because we don't want to destroy any eggs that might be hiding up in there.  We were just thankful this nest was over the window rather than the door itself. 

We watched as the Mama Swallow sat on her nest for weeks.  These particular barn swallows seemed less aggressive than some we'd had in previous years, so it wasn't too much trouble to have them there.  Of course, we do have a pile of poop on the porch.

It wasn't that long ago that we noticed the eggs had hatched.  We liked peeking out the windows in our door to see their little beaks open, calling out for food, over the edge of the nest.  Their feathers came in quickly and soon they were fat little fluff balls that would duck down and hide whenever we actually stepped on the porch.  But we all enjoyed peeking out the door to see their heads in a line watching out for Mom or Dad to bring them dinner.

This Saturday, they all took flight.  I was sitting beside the window when I heard and saw one of them flutter down to the ground.  Soon they were all out of the nest, except one.  Mama Swallow kept flying past the nest, urging the last little bird to fly with her. I could see one of the babies sitting on top of a bush beside our porch for awhile, but he soon flew away. We went to town for a couple hours, and when we returned home, the nest was empty at last.  We thought they might be gone for good, but they all flew back to the nest for the night.

I'm not sure how long it will be before they stop coming back to the nest.  When they're finally gone, we'll knock it down and wash the pile of poop off our porch.  Next Spring, we'll still try to stop the barn swallows from completing a nest, but if they do sneak one in on us again, I know we'll all look forward to seeing the little baby birds grow, and eventually take flight.

April E.

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