A Forty-year First Outside My Window!

May 19, 2023 | 3 comments

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!


  1. Lona Niemi

    Very interesting. We have been watching an eagles nest on 101 close to Gearhart Or for years. It has been a one story until this year when another new nest was built on top of it just like the swallows nest! It too looks like the beginning of an eagles high rise.

    • sydney

      How I wish those eagles and swallows could talk to us! Are they building “high-rises” because of an eventual tsunami? Should we be paying better attention? Or is it a fairly unusual phenomenon that we’ve just not noticed before? I’ve sent a note and pictures to Dr. Madeline Kalbach. Perhaps she’ll have some more information for us. Sydney


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