It started a few weeks ago one day when I pulled up the driveway and was greeted and treated to an explosion of song and tweets and burbling, and with that one of my swallow family announced he was back from his winter away and he had stuff to say. He sat on my light and told stories while I stood and listened. What else could I do? This guy is the definition of engaging. His partner, new to the family, sat a few feet over on the nest, checking it out and checking me out. It must be like meeting your fiancé’s grandma. She stayed quiet but really there was no space for her to talk anyways, as he burbled on and on. This is probably one of the babies I watched grow up just in the last couple of years, still a young thing, and I suspect his stories were full of raucous swallow debauchery. Just a gut feeling.
Every summer for the last eight or so there’s been a nest close to my front door. I’m a softie and paint around it, and watch anxiously every year for my family to return. They used to add new mud to the top every year but now it’s gotten so close to the wood above that they can’t, and the family has to hunch a little to not bump their heads. They usually get two crops of babies out a year, and that adds up to eight or nine or even ten babies. How do they decide who gets to come back and raise the next brood here? They’re a peaceful little family, a group of calm deep thinkers, and I love the time we spend talking to each other every year. I talked about them here. Maybe my talkative boy this year is in this shot from a few years ago. This must have been taken just before they moved out as they’ve lost their baby looks. I always love how they choose to decorate. One year there was an especially quirky designer involved and they righted a solid screen of found feathers right in front. Sort of gave the nest a tawdry boudoir feel but that didn’t survive the eventual onslaught of hungry babies launching themselves towards food-bearing parents. Familiar story right? The romance slips a little.
This year my swallows are around a lot. This male really really wants to tell me what’s going on. I came out early one cool morning to find them both warming up the car antennas for me. I bet he was a little grumpy when I drove one of the swallow posts away. I was a little grumpy at how he had decorated it before that.
Sometimes he sits on the railings and talks to his sweetheart. Burbles and squeaks and shouts out his love for her. Not whispering sweet nothings, this boy.
She takes it in and replies, “Yup.” What else can she say? She knows his grandma is watching.
And then he spins around and tells me what he is thinking about doing, what he did, what he ate. Whether he pooped on my car. Isn’t he pretty?
I’m not the only one who is interested.
Yikes. Two of them.
These swallows spend so much time hanging out on the railings and swooping around that they haven’t really seemed too interested in filling that nest with anything other than their own bodies at night. Sometimes I come out late and see them snuggled in there sleeping. It’s a very sweet sight. Seems to me we often have the first nest of hatched babies by now but these two youngsters were doing their own thing. Fair enough.
But now there have been daytime sightings of this. A swallow butt. ON the nest. Fingers crossed. I’ll keep you posted.