They’re back!

Apr 13, 2010 | 2 comments

Spring 2009

       The swallows came back to Oysterville day before yesterday.  I wrote it on my calendar and hope that I’ll remember to pay attention next year.  Do they arrive on the same date every year like the swallows of Capistrano?
       Traditionally those swallows arrive annually at Mission San Juan Capistrano “on or about” Saint Joseph’s Day which is March 19th.  Legend has it that when an irate innkeeper destroyed their muddy nests, the cliff swallows took refuge in the Mission.   They return to the old church ruins each spring knowing they will be protected within the mission’s walls. In fact, the entire city takes their safety seriously and has passed an ordinance against destroying their nests.  
       As far as I know, there is no legend and no ordinance connected with our Oysterville swallows which happen to be barn swallows, not cliff swallows.  Actually, we have two or three varieties, but the ones that take up residence at our house are barn swallows with their distinctive, deeply forked tails.  The only similarity between Capistrano and Oysterville might be a comparison of that inn keeper with my husband!   He doesn’t destroy the nests once they are started, but he tries to discourage the birds’ interest in certain areas around our house.  He and I have vigorous “discussions” every year about those swallows and their nests, which I must admit create quite a mess. 
       But I do love watching Mr. and Mrs. Swallow work together to build  their springtime home – or usually to repair last year’s.  I often wonder if it’s the same pair of swallows or if maybe they are the babies that were raised here a year or two before.  They always appear to go directly to those old nests, no matter how secluded.     
       As for the annual swallow “discussions” at our house – we compromise.  We discourage nesting on the front porch and are usually successful, but we let them build on the back porch, just outside one of our kitchen windows.  There are usually two or three nests out there and the highly social swallows keep us well entertained throughout the spring and summer.  I’m always glad to see them back.


  1. Jim Sayce

    “The Swallows of Oysterville” That’s either a Conan Doyle murder mystery or vampire teen love story. Go for it.

  2. Nancy

    scrolling through previous postings, the swallows flew onto my inner screen in feathered images..great visuals throughout the post…


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