From my photo archives, I'll share an experience I had with a pair of Barn Swallows this summer. We moved into our house a little over a year ago, and, under the roof of the front porch, the builder had placed a rock on the ledge to keep birds from nesting there. That rock actually turned out to be a firm base for a Barn Swallow nest...HA! Within a few days in June, a nest appeared on top of that rock. I watched the swallows work from sunrise to sunset, packing a sturdy nest made with red clay.
This photo was taken today. The nest is a mess and I'll need to clean it up. Lately, I've noticed feathers have been brought in and layer it.
Within a few weeks, the pair allowed me to stand a few feet from them. Mom slept in the nest at night and Dad perched on the opposite corner of the porch.
Soon I saw some tiny beaks rise above that nest and for the next two or three weeks, the feeding began in earnest. Gina and I spent many hours sitting in our rocking chairs and watching the feeding frenzy. The adults would swoop in, the babes would raise up and sing, "me! me! me! me!...feed me!" The drop would be made quickly...then silent. This routine continued every two minutes from dawn to dusk. We laughed the whole time. But in the oppressive heat on the west side of this house, I wondered if the poor birds would die of heat exhaustion.
Lovely little fledglings! There were five in the nest and it seemed that within just two weeks, they resembled smaller versions of their parents. Perhaps the most fun Gina and I had was watching them poop. Growing too large for the nest, some real serious and skillful shifting went on to get that back end out and the aim right, then...p-p-p. Poop, poop, everywhere. Each day I'd do poop patrol for the dogs in the back then headed around to the front porch for another clean-up. I didn't mind much.
"Mom, the babies are gone."
"What? They flew out? Are you kidding me???? Do you see them anywhere? Did they get hurt?"
"No, Mom. They left this morning while I was out."
Somehow, I thought I might see them leave. I didn't even get a chance to say, "Have a safe flight and be careful out there..."