Member Rara Avis
Are they still in that nest? (Last we heard they had flown the coop so to speak.)
Will these birds be back to use this spot for their nest?
Funny you should ask.
In my last post, the four chicks had returned to the nest after their first day of flight, but contrary to what I had read about these birds, that was the last night they stopped by to say hello. I would still see them flying around the neighborhood, but they seemed to display no greater affection for my property than any other. Empty nest syndrome took on a more personal meaning.
I had also read that barn swallows typically have two broods each summer, so had anticipated going through this all over again. Upon further reflection, however, logic suggested this brood probably WAS their second of the season. Kit, after all, was seeing the second brood from her robins, and I have to suspect my swallows had their first brood elsewhere, lost that nest for whatever reason, and built a new one in my garage for their second brood. Chicks born too late in the season, after all, will never be strong enough come Autumn to fly over 8,000 miles to South America.
The signs, therefore, indicated I wouldn't see my new friends again until possibly next Spring. Clearly, I wasn't going to leave my garage door open all year, so I sadly and reluctantly removed their nest.
Yesterday, they returned.
I'm not sure if all six birds came looking for their nest, but there was certainly more than just Martha and Martin. Both garage doors were open at the time, and they would arrive in groups of three or four, swooping in one door, making a pass or three through the garage, then swooping out the other door. None of them showed any fear of me, often flying within inches of where I was sitting near the doors. Close enough to my face to startle me at least once. Several times, one of them would flitter to exactly where the nest previously rested, back-winging to hover as best their kind can, before joining the others in their prescribed exit. This went on for about thirty minutes and, honestly, it was a bit heart-wrenching to watch.
I'd like to build them a platform or some such in the garage for next year, but fear to let what I want overcome more prudent wisdom. One of the neighborhood cats, known locally as Boss, has spent the last two winters in the open rafters of my garage, and I'm not sure I could build anything capable of keeping him out when Spring comes. Nor am I eager to gamble the swallows' lives that I'm smarter than Boss. My garage door handle was quite possibly the only safe place in the whole building.
I'm not sure what will happen or what I'll eventually do. I figure I've got a few more months to think about it, though.