It was the middle Summer in the Pacific Northwest. I had spent many hours watching the continuation of life in my yard. Outside my office window, up in the eves over my garage was a little nest built by the Barn Swallows. The little mud nest had been built last Summer and I wonder if they were the same birds who returned to raise this year’s babies. There were five little ones hatched this year and each time I walked to the front of the garage, there was a lot of commotion and chirping with the adult birds zooming around in their frenzied attempt to distract anyone from seeing their precious little ones.
The swooping of the parent birds and the chirping of the babies as their Mother came into view was a delight to watch. They eventually got used to my presence as I would come out to stand and watch their feeding as the parents would swoop in with a seemingly endless supply of bugs and seeds for them to eat. I was amazed to see all of these baby birds grow and never a one was crowded out of this nest, so high over the pavement. That seemed a miracle in itself, and I could not help but wonder at the amazing instincts of these little winged creatures.
But nature is not always kind….
One day as I was walking out my door, I heard all of this commotion and as I proceeded down my sidewalk, this big black bird took flight over my head, crying out. “caw! caw! caw! …..” moving across the street to sit and watch from the rooftop of my neighbor’s house. What a dark and ominous mood was cast by seeing him sitting there! I could see that my Swallows were very upset by his presence and I knew that I would need to help watch out for them. I could not be here all of the time. It did not look hopeful for my little family of birds.
Then one day, As I returned from my errands, I found the nest on the ground, broken and crumbling, with two little feathers to tell me of their fate. My worst fears came to mind. Their little nest had been ravaged by Mr. Nasty Crow. My heart sank as I looked for my little birds, but I found no sign at all that they were here. I walked around the side of my house and into the garden, hoping for a sign of them. I was only greeted by silence and the flight of a Dragon Fly. Sadness filled my heart as I thought of the summer’s work of this little family coming to an end so quickly
But then as I walked slowly back to the front of my house, miraculously there was this joyous flutter and arrival of about a dozen birds, five of them were my little babies. Fortunately, the babies were mature enough to know how to fly. They were now living on the cross piece over my garage, only an arms reach from where their nest used to be. How exciting this was to watch the survival and growth of these little birds, winning against the adversity of nature. Their love for one another and their desire to thrive are what propelled them to survive against that dark force.
I set up my camera on a tripod and watched as the adults continued to feed their young until they were strong enough to be on their own. It was only another week before I did not see the Swallows again. Did they move to a different place or have they migrated south again? I believe they are all together and thriving as Mother Nature intended.
The Swallows will return each year to my neighborhood and at this rate, there will be more every consecutive year. I will have to watch and see if they come back on the same day each year like they do in San Jaun Capistrano. Perhaps my little babies will come back to make a home on my property next summer.
I will be watching for them….
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My little family of baby birds this summer.
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