Posts Tagged ‘nesting’

The return of the mud swallows

We have many migratory birds that come through here every year but the return of the mud swallows is always one of my favorites. I stopped during my morning chores this morning to walk around the side of the garage and check out the eves where the swallows build their nests every year. I noticed a flock of them flying around a few days ago, but now there are a few who have decided to stay for the season and raise their young here. I wonder if it is the same pairs of birds, the young who have been born here or just random chance who ends up returning to these nests every year. They were very busy flying from the river bed behind us, bringing back beak-fulls of mud to repair last season’s structures. They have been building two nests right up under the eves on the west side of the garage ever since we bought this place. In fact, I can remember having to wait to close escrow because we could not termite tent the garage during their nesting season. They are a protected species in these parts and you can’t disturb their nests once occupied. At the time I remembering thinking “what have we gotten into where a bird nest can hold up escrow?” Little did I realize it was just one of MANY lessons this farm would teach me.
You can’t control the natural elements, and where a bird chooses to make its nest is one of them. Some of the people in the neighborhood don’t like them nesting on their properties and knock the nests down before they get a chance to finish them. Me, I always feel blessed that the swallows feel safe enough to build their homes and raise their chicks so close to me every year. I love to watch “him” feed “her” as she devotedly sits on their eggs and then the frantic feeding by both parents of the hatchlings as they demand more and more food for their fast growing bodies. Its quite the lesson in teamwork when you watch them for a while. I enjoy the moment when, after only hearing the chicks for so many weeks, you finally get to see their little heads peeking out of the nest taking their first glimpses of the outside world. I have walked the trail that runs along the riverbed countless times during their nesting season when the sky is just teaming with them. It is truly a sight to behold. I have often wondered how they all keep from crashing into one another in their quick flight and vertical dives. They looked like little airplanes, seeming to glide more then they flap their wings, making their flight very smooth. I like the soft musical whistling sound they make as they fly. I hear they eat their weight in bugs every day too!
Welcome back to the farm my little visitors, I hope your stay is a pleasant one. I know it is for me.