Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Barn Swallows Do

A glop of mud is carried to the brick ledge. Picked up and transferred by a beak. The other parent, probably heavy with eggs wanting laid, brings a sprig of grass to weave into the wet dollop.

It has a rhythm, this nest building. An imperfect rhythm, because it was our morning spot. The invaders made us feel like intruders, rocking away on the patio with our coffee. The pair of swallows seemed frantic. They tried dive bombing and fly-by aggression trying to persuade us to leave.

Feathers in my cup won't bully me into missing the show. No way. We didn't budge. If they were determined to have that spot for a nest, they'd have to let us be an audience. It was wonderful, as in full of wonder.

Every day we quietly watched them create a nest. The engineering and architecture bedazzled us. The mud half bowl appeared slowly but steadily on the wall.

They worked non-stop. We had to leave before witnessing their finished home. It probably is lined with soft down plucked from the parents by now. She might be setting on eggs already. The male will bring her food until the chicks hatch. Both of them will tirelessly feed their offspring.

Mom didn't especially relish the nasty residue they would leave all over the patio, but didn't have the heart to keep them away.

Baby swallows hang their little behinds over the edge to relieve themselves. They have this instinct passed down from ancient times - they won't spoil their home. The place they sleep, eat, grow, and feel safe in.... stays clean. I'm glad it didn't get knocked down before it had a chance to shelter life.

Mom has ponds that breed mosquitos. These swallows and their families keep the mosquitos down. Her hospitality will be repaid.

I had a bird's eye view of home.

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