08 August 2008

Barn Swallow Nestlings

We went to James Dorton Park in Concord this morning to take advantage of some sub-90 degree weather, just planning to play and get some exercise. The birding at the park is typically pretty good, but I decided to leave the binoculars behind and just spend some time playing with the girls.

That lasted all of 3 minutes.

Lily wanted to finish her post-gym snack at one of the picnic tables under the pavilion. I saw no reason to object, and as we approached I thought to myself, "Self, this would be a good place for structure-nesting birds to build a nest." 30 seconds later I heard the begging peeps of nestlings coming from above, and I looked up to the rafters to find these cute little Barn Swallows. I of course headed right for the car and grabbed the bins.

They examined us briefly and were quiet again, although very alert. They are quite obviously almost fully developed and I can't imagine they're overly comfortable in that nest.

They looked around for their parents for a few minutes, and occasionally they would preen and scratch themselves.

In an act of unparalleled courtesy, I watched the middle bird do a 180-degree turn, stick his little bird butt out of the nest, and promptly poop on the pavilion floor. This is apparently S.O.P.

Uh oh! Mom's coming! Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!

"Ooh, is it my turn Mom?"

Mom never landed. She flew in with lunch presumably in her mouth, hovered noisily, and in a lightning-quick instant passed the food on to the young. With the camera set to take numerous shots in succession, I could never get more than two frames with the adult bird in them in succession.

My last observation and then I'll leave you to click and enlarge the photos . . isn't that nest cool? It's centered on that bolt and then presumably just stuck to the wood with mud. What craftsmen those swallows. Ha, another new cliche . . "Crafty as a Barn Swallow".


Carolyn said...

I love these cute baby birds!!!

Mary said...

Corey, I'm glad you listened to your self. This post is so meaningful to me.

Those little Barn Swallows are probably on their own now - they were ready to go!

Check out my fun with barn swallow poop:


Mary :o)

Sparverius said...

Most of my swallows (barn and cliff) have fledged. It is so fun to watch the progress. Nice series of photos.

Anonymous said...

Those are great photos...except for the poop. I've often thought man could learn a lot from animal architecture.