A Watchful Eye

Jun 16, 2012 | 1 comment

Taking a Break

As most mothers and fathers know, the early weeks of parenthood are demanding.  That goes double, no doubt, when twins are involved and probably spirals upward geometrically with triplets or quadruplets.  I think the experience must be much the same for swallows.

I say that because I have become quite well acquainted with the swallow family outside our kitchen window.  For years they have used the comfy-looking nest overlooking a small unused porch.  It’s out of the way and in an area not frequented by us two-legged creatures – a good place to hatch eggs and raise babies.

This year’s first brood have recently emerged and it’s still hard to tell how many little mouths are open and demanding – at least three, but maybe four.  Mr. and Mrs. Swallow are busy from dawn to dusk, making trips to the mosquito market (I hope!) and bringing home the bacon, so to speak.  The parents, sensibly, take turns.  When one is on duty, the other rests nearby, at the ready.

One of the swallow-parents (I choose to think it’s Mrs.) has taken to sitting on the edge of a thermometer just on the other side of the window nearest our kitchen counter.  It’s about as far away as she can get from the demanding and oh-so-plaintiff peeps of her brood, yet she can keep a watchful eye on them and monitor her mate’s progress with the feeding duties.

She also seems very interested in what’s happening in our kitchen.  Last night she watched intently as I made our salad, cocking her head this way and that to get the best possible view of cucumber and tomato slicing.  I find myself talking to her about the intricacies of food preparation and she seems much intrigued.  Sometimes, we ‘visit’ for five or six minutes at a time.

It’s probably a bit ego-centric of me, but I do think she comes only when I am the one she sees at the counter.  She’s never already there and she doesn’t seem to be interested in Nyel’s kitchen activities.  But for the last few days she has been a pretty constant onlooker when it’s my turn to cook.  It’s almost enough to encourage me to do more of the cooking (usually Nyel’s forté.)  Operable word here:  almost.

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Swallows used to nest ontop of our front porch light each Spring which was not convient for anyone involved. We put up a bird house at the peak of the roof that seems to suit them. Two summers ago I had one spend the entire night in my kitchen. That was when I decided we needed a screen door. He or she could not be lured out and I didnt want to leave the front door standing wide open all night so when it got light I got up and opened the front door and out went the bird. Birds are supposed to be lucky I think. I enjoy them.

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