June 27, 2008

A sneak peek at my resident barn swallows

I’ve been casually observing a barn swallow couple that chose to
build a nest under the eave of my front porch.  As their name suggests,
barn swallows are frequently found living in barns and other outer
buildings, but obviously, this pair of birds preferred my home
instead.  The nest is actually quite an amazing and sturdy cup-like
structure, meticulously constructed from mud pellets and grass, carried
bit by bit in their bills.  Once it was complete, the activity quieted
down for a couple of weeks while the parents incubated their eggs.
Then, the other morning, just before leaving on my trip, I was delighted to hear the hungry chirping of
newborn chicks!


Barn swallows have slate blue feathers on their heads and wings and
rust-colored chests.  Their tails are deeply forked and it’s said that
the females are attracted to males having the longest tail streamers.
They’re also insectivores, meaning they only feed on insects.  Perhaps
my resident barn swallows will help to control that pesky mosquito and
housefly population this summer.      

Five adorable little hatchlings waiting for their parents to return.

A couple of the chicks are getting very impatient.

Two more chicks join in.

Now we have a full chorus of hungry babies!

Mom and Dad are working very hard to keep their little family fed and happy.