A Forty-year First Outside My Window!

Over my kitchen window — a double-decker barn swallow nest.

Several of last year’s nests appeared to be intact when the first barn swallows began to do their yearly house-hunting several weeks ago.  As usual, a pair claimed the one above the kitchen window right away.  I always think it’s a “family thing” — if not the same parents back for yet another year, probably one or more of their offspring.  Year after year, they re-line and refurbish that nest, ready to welcome yet a new generation.  And, in the years that winter storms or the occasional housepainter destroys the nest, a new one is begun.  Same spot, year after year.

So, when I saw Mr. and Mrs. arrive and get busy, I smiled at them (but mostly to myself) and left them alone.  It was only today that I went out to see why the activity seemed to have ceased.  Was mom already on the nest?  Or were they taking a break?

Above the window on the porch — a more traditional one-story nest, precariously perched as always.

I don’t think I can express to you the jumble of thoughts that flew through my head when I looked up.  A brand new nest, but INSIDE the old one!  A double-decker affair!  I have never seen anything quite like it in the barn swallow neighborhoods around this old house.  It looks like the beginnings of a high rise — although there won’t be much room for the third story.  Plus the first story looks to be all filled up — with the second nest!

What were they thinking?  Or maybe this is common practice in some areas and has just been introduced to Oysterville.  I do wish the swallows would tell me about it.  But, until they do, I think I’ll send a copy of the photograph to Dr. Madeline Kalbach.  Maybe she’s seen the “high-rise syndrome” among swallows before!   For me, it’s definitely a first!

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