The face, yes… but not the name.

Jun 6, 2019 | 1 comment

July 2017 – “The Second Batch”

Our house has a very large and complicated footprint,  or at least so it seems to me.  I’m talking from a bird’s viewpoint here.  In particular, a barn swallow’s viewpoint.  There are nooks and crannies, overhangs and gingerbread,  and many areas well-protected from the sharp eyes of predators.  So why, I wonder, do the swallows who come back here, generation after generation, always choose the same two nesting sites?

Both areas are by doors into the house.  In fact, the little darlings build their nests within a foot or so of the two doors we use most frequently.  Without fail, those are the areas the swallows return to (or choose anew) year after year.  This year there are five (coune ’em! five!) nests adjacent to the kitchen door.  Granted, it is a fairly protected area from the eyes of the general public, but we are in and out that door from early to late — on chicken duty or garden duty or compost duty!  Even though they  fly off their nests each time we approach, I can’t help but think that the birds like our company.  Why else would they choose that particular area?

Two of Five Out Our Kitchen Door

The other favorite building site is near our front door — often on the inch-wide ledge above our living room window.  Those front-porch-swallows, too, fly off the nest as visitors approach and, if there is lingering and talking before or after entering the house, Mom and Dad Swallow are likely to make fast and furious passes at the offending miscreants.  Occasionally, Mr. or Mrs. remains on the nest whether or not tall, unfeathered folk are nearby.  I always think those must be  returnees — either the same parent pair who made it back from their last migration or, perhaps, the now grown-up nestling from a year or so before.  They seem wise in the ways of humans — especially the humans of this household.

When I consider that each nest is built by a swallow couple and that they typically make up to 1,000 trips to collect mud for their construction project, I am full of admiration.  Nyel… not so much. He usually tries to disrupt the annual building frenzy to the extent that there are only one or two completed nests in each of their favorite haunts.  (Once the eggs have been laid, though, even hard-hearted Nyel lets them be.  I don’t even need to remind him that they are protected by law.)  This year, of course, he was otherwise occupied in Portland so the swallows worked without interference.

Precariously Perched on Our Front Porch

I think we got off lucky to have just one nest on the front porch.  That area off the kitchen, though — wow!   And did I mention that at least two of the nests have been refurbished again for the umpteenth year — probably as many as ten!  The occupants have never introduced themselves by name and since I have a lousy memory for faces, I’m not sure if we have been neighbors before.  But I’m willing to bet that we have!



1 Comment

  1. Berntza Kristina Jones

    Oh, Dear Sydney! I would have cried buckets right along with you. FIFTY FEET!!! Go Nyel!!! And I remember those *%^& (to quote Nyel) swallows, too. It’s good he doesn’t hold a grudge and it’s good that just like Capistrano, your little feathered friends know to return to a warm welcoming AND historic home! Shine away, Cuz!


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