The Barn Swallows of Avignon

Posted by Tara on June 18, 2006 in Around the Farm, Family, Inspirational / Devotional, Wildlife & Nature |
Migration Fever - Barn Swallows By Carl Brenders
Migration Fever-Barn Swallows by Carl Brenders


 We are happy to host each spring a returning family of Barn Swallows.  They’ve commandeered the tiny ledge which presents itself from under the fascia atop the westernmost column on our front porch.  At first, Rory pulled their little nest down but when they quickly and industriously rebuilt, he just couldn’t bear to cause them the work and the worry a second time.

They return each and every spring and hatch two little families, back-to-back.  This year a little Sparrow thought to nest there but when Mr. and Mrs. Swallow returned, the sparrow disappeared and her one youngling was, thankfully, old enough to take wing after only a day on the porch ledge.  The Swallows, which apparently mate for life and raise their young together, moved right back into their summer home, added another level of mud about the top of their little love nest and had a fine brood of four.  They are now on their second family so, once again, The Brick will tenderly lift our preschool grandson onto his shoulders to introduce him to the eggs, and then again to greet the wide-mouthed babies in the nest.  It is a ritual.

For weeks, the parents sweep the length of our porch many times during the bright spring days bringing sustenance to their young.  The dogs are swooped at and we are swooped at whenever the vicinity of the nest is ‘invaded.’  They are never violent but they can be pretty insistent and can, at times, whiz through the air close enough so that you hear the wind whistle through their lovely blue wings and even feel the wind-wake from their passing on your cheek or neck.  Then the day comes when the gorgeous young show their red-throated, feathered finery as they line up on the edge of the nest for their flight lessons.  We know then that it won’t be long before the lovely babies will no longer keep us company on the porch.

The Barn Swallow is a great insect eater and we HOPE that the growing numbers of these lovely birds on our property are gobbling up great hoards of mosquitoes and other offensive biters.  In the evenings, we enjoy to see the Barn Swallow population out swooping to and fro getting their dinner.  Their populace grows each year and we are delighted to see greater numbers of the lovely little birds enjoying their summers here at Avignon.

After the last batch of babies, the nest is abandoned and Rory gets out the pressure washer and cleans the column and we spend the rest of the balmy summer watching the hatchlings catch up to the adults in size as they sweep the colorful evening skies.

This is my ode to the Barn Swallow for the enjoyment it has brought to Avignon and the inhabitants here.  My grandmother just loved little birds and she passed this torch to me, I guess.  The bird is a lovely, lithe creation, which brings décor, song, and the dream of flight to life on this earth.  They are God’s gift to this sometimes-weary world.  Why don’t you take a chair out tonight or sit at your window tomorrow and get to know your own birdie populace?  Enjoy your birds.  Receive the gift they have to give you.

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