Saturday, May 21, 2011

Homeless Barn Swallows

Amanda captured these quick pictures of barn swallows when they returned today.

Barn swallows have nested in our barn since before we moved here 16 years ago. We've seen several generations of these animated birds. At times, we'd have a dozen nests full of hungry hatchlings! We helped them defend their nests from snakes and made sure we didn't leave anything around the cats could use to get to them. If our work agitated them enough they would communicate that by chattering angrily and flying at us. We respected their parental instinct and moved our work further down the barn aisle which always settled them down. Every spring, the barn swallows arrive and fly circles around us chattering in the excitement of making it home! We eagerly watch and tell each other when they first arrive. I always shout a cheery welcome to them each year.

This year was different. Their return was later than usual and caused us some worry they weren't going to return. They arrived home today, and instead of flying around chattering happily, they were confused. Their barn was gone! The chattering was more anxious. Their flying was frenzied. They flew into the house looking for lodging! They also flew into our travel trailer. Brandon opened the small barn door so they can live there if they choose. We hope at least one pair nests so we can continue to enjoy these delightful birds who benefit us by eating flying insects every evening. Clint says if one pair takes up residence in his workshop, he will make a tiny door just for them.
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