Saturday, June 16, 2007

Nestlings on the move: barn swallow babies

Every year we have four or five barn swallow pairs nesting in our small barn. We keep our gardening tools and mowers there, and as the swallow babies start leaving the nest, their parents strongly discourage us from entering the barn.

We get furious alarm calls, and Mom and Pop buzzing our heads as we try to go about our business. Early on the weekend, there were three young fledglings on the floor in the barn. When I got too close to them, I discovered that they could actually fly. Well, two did, and the third just looked very scared.

Later I came back with a long lens and took the picture above. By Sunday morning, the babies were gone. I guess they had earned their wings. This usually isn't the end of it: they tend to come back and hang around the barn roof a bit more before they really embark on their outdoor adventures.

The swallows are an annual happening here. Last year, we had a pair nesting in the garage part of the barn where the ceiling is quite low, so I was able to get pictures of them in the nest and feeding. We enjoy their antics, but we're also relieved when they've flown the coop and all the bird droppings can be cleaned up. While they're around, it's a darn good thing our riding mower has a sunroof. Otherwise, the seat would be covered in you-know-what.

The swallows are very entertaining whenever the grass is getting cut. Mowing means fast food, so they swoop and dart in an impressive display of aerial acrobatics, harvesting insects coming out of the grass to avoid the mower's path.

4 comments:

  1. Omg, how cute is that? They look so serious! I don't have barn swallows (no barn) but I do have lots of tree swallows with their pretty steel-blue color.

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  2. Thanks, Julia, for your comment. Yes, indeed, they are serious: their parents are raising alarm calls because about 15 feet away is this dangerous human with a tripod and long black lens aimed at them. They're pretty scared. I took a few pictures very quickly and then left the barn so the birds didn't get too stressed.

    Cheers, Yvonne

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  3. Oh my gosh, their little faces are adorable! What a great photo.

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  4. Oh, those babies are adorable! Great pictures, Yvonne.

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