They’re baaccck! We know spring has arrived when the barn swallows return. And we can always tell when they return, because, quite honestly, they are noisy little buggers.
When we moved into our new old restoration home it didn’t take long to notice the barn swallows. (As well as the plethora of other birds that hang out and nest around our property, from sparrows to crows, owls to finches.) The swallows had a little nest near our back door, in a hole in the stone wall of our house.
Come the second year, and they were turfed out of that home by another type of bird. Obviously, that nesting spot was prime real estate. The barn swallows were angry but then went about building a new nest, about 2 meters (yards) from the old one. Except – this one was inside our house.
The barn swallows, in their infinite wisdom, decided they liked our hallway. Go figure. They would swoop in and out the cat opening in our back door. What daring teases. The cats were fascinated and would sit on the stairs and watch them. Closely. We thought it best to open the door fully and keep it propped. Now they can swoop in at head height. A tad safer.
Sometimes they fly up the stairs and we find one (usually the male) sitting on our hot water tank in our bathroom. Lapsong, our grey tiger cat, in particular, likes to let us know he is there by sitting in the middle of the bathroom, staring upwards and chirupping. (That’s the actual sound.) We now keep the bathroom window open too. At moments like this I feel like a stewardess, ‘In the event of a cat chasing you, your nearest exits are here, here and here’.
For something so small they sure can make themselves heard. Who needs an alarm clock when you have barn swallows? Pre-dawn and apres-dusk bring on quite the chorus.
This is now the fourth year they have come to lay their eggs and hatch baby barn swallows, returning to the same nest each time. The nest is high up in the back corner of our downstairs hallway. They made use of some old exposed wires in our yet to be completely restored hallway to rest the nest on. I am in the midst of stripping wallpaper there, but their corner will now have to wait until summer.
The male particularly likes to sit on one of the wires and watch over the coming and goings. Must be an enthralling spot. The female has been working on the nest in readiness for laying her eggs. She is flying to and fro with bits and bobs, badgering or encouraging the male to help. Honestly, they really do sound like an old married couple at times.
And so our spring into summer will be a cacophony of sound each morning and evening. A good reminder for me it’s time to let out (or put away) the ducks. And as I can now hear them, it’s time I go and do just that.
For more Animal Antics at Pumpjack & Piddlewick
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