Since the female started building that nest in May last year and the babies fledged around the end of June, I thought I’d better get cracking.
Her nest was built into a ninety degree angle in a corner under the porch ceiling. I used the corner of a sturdy shoebox to help form a nest with Sculpey. Since her nest was packed with North Carolina’s finest bright red clay, I chose terracotta.
It’s recommended that barn swallow nests should have no more than one and a half inches clearance from a ceiling. That’s very small, so I allowed two inches.
After more resizing and reshaping it was ready for the oven at 275 degrees. I'm not skilled at sculpting and it shows! Standing on the step ladder near the porch railing thirty feet above the sidewalk got a little easier on my nerves after a while.
While the nest was in the oven baking, I baked some mud on the driveway.
I’ll admit it, sometimes I go over the top with things but I couldn’t resist some paint! Now it looks like a distressed flower pot but, hey, who cares? My artistic side got the best of me.
For baking purposes I sculpted a hollow nest. To fill it, I accumulated washed stone, human hair from hairbrushes around the house, dried grasses, and some soft twigs from my hanging pots.
The nest is shallow and formed softly with mud. It’s all adjustable to suit a female’s fancy but I invite any comments on where it might fall short or need improvement.
Perfect fit. It’s not attached to anything but the gravel inside and weight of it will prove to be very stable.
Perhaps she won’t return this year. The nest might sit empty for a long time. It’s OK. More than likely, she’s probably working away at another nest somewhere but if she gets evicted, she can have an extended stay at my hotel. If she returns, my heart would swell!
Building this nest is the least I could do. She’s worth it, despite the poopy porch.