Dinner with the Barn-Mates…

We have swallows nesting on our gutters and in the eaves of our barn and pavilion.

There are chicks in the nests because we can see the adult birds swooping, snagging insects mid-air, flying by with food, pausing briefly to remove excrement, standing guard on the umbrella, the bower, a tree branch.

Their nests are too high for me to snap any photographs of their chicks’ pretty little, all beak, faces so I watch closely for any signs of of baby heads peaking above the edge of the nest as they wait impatiently for the next home delivery of an insect medley!

For Father’s Day we went over to the barn-mates’ grill and their patio to eat fajitas and admire the view from the other side of the driveway.  


I could sense a bird hovering rather like an attentive waiter and Daughts indicated behind me where, on a wicker baker’s rack that does duty as an open air potting shed, sat a pretty little bird house absolutely at eye level.  Daughts told me to look at the hole in the door and I had to grab my camera to get this delightful shot of babies clamoring to get a view of the big wide world of outside.


Our fluttering maitre d’ was trying to get to it and I was a little too close for comfort so I restrained myself and went back to the table to eat.

The perturbed parent flew first to the wheel-hub of the nearby John Deere, then made another incomplete dart at the nest before flying off to sit, head cocked to one side, on the roof of my truck, twittering and ruffling in a worried flap.


The frustrated swallow was in for a long wait as we’d only just dished up our yummy food and were settling down to conversation about our upcoming week with music playing softly in the background.

Finally our fearless winged friend could wait no longer and swept in to deftly feed the open mouths waiting at the entrance; I was reminded of my young children gathering around the kitchen door when they heard Hubs’ car pull into the garage, vying for the best position, hoping to be noticed first.

“Four of them,” Daughts informed me.

“Yes,” I said, “there were four of you too!”

She looked at me, “What are you talking about?”

I laughed and continued with my meal and reverie.

When the avian parental had cleared the nest of chick droppings and sped away I digitally captured a couple of adorable photos,


As each moment passed their cheeps grew more insistent as they started hanging precariously over the edge of their abode,


any minute now they may tumble right out of the nest, to certain death, I thought.

Four days later they’d fledged, although to my eyes they still looked too fragile to survive on the outside.

The little blue and red box is now empty and somewhere there’s a pair of adults trying to keep up with their chicks,

feeding them on the wing until they learn to catch their own food,

keeping watch as they master the art of flying,

standing back as they land in a heap, flutter to get up again, fly a little further until they are finally confident in the vast expanse of Footlights and ready to claim their independence.

Soon, too soon, the once-upon-a-time-hatchlings will be gliding above the meadow with a forever mate searching for a good place to build,

tucked into the eaves of a barn,

perched upon a gutter,

in a shoe in my mud-room,

or in a ready-made house on a wicker baker’s rack.

It doesn’t really matter, they’ll lay eggs and raise their own chicks and start the cycle all over again.

Share this:

No comments so far!

Leave a Comment