Thursday, June 6
A pair of barn swallows start building a nest on the fire sprinkler you can see from my front door. In three days, the parents weave and compact bits of straw and mud and mystery goo into a twee bowl for their babies-to-be.
The sprinkler is about 10 feet above the ground and tucked away in a corner, so the nest is protected from strong winds. These winged structural engineers know their cantilevers. And based on the same principle, here’s a swallow’s nest built by humans!
Lovely, don’t you think? I hope to visit someday. In the meantime, I get to admire this marvel of avian architecture up close:
But the “two cats in the yard” had better stay away. 🙂
So almost a month goes by after nest building is complete. Mom and dad take turns to incubate the eggs. And then one day, I hear cheeps!
Friday, July 5
Two baby swallows are peeking out the nest. Fuzzy but not fluffy, and all eyes and mouth at this point, especially at feeding time, when they open wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide.
Wednesday, July 10
A third baby appears. It was in the nest all along but hidden from view. When I returned from work today, the babies were so hyper, I thought they were going to fall out.
Another good thing about the towels is that they catch all the bird poop. Two grown-ups and three babies make lots of it! I saw a baby birdie position itself so its little bottom was hanging off the edge of the nest before it let go of a neat white torpedo that landed on the towel, ten feet down. Not even a week old, it just knew what to do. Either that, or the parents have firm house rules: posters are okay, poop is not.
Wednesday, July 17
The babies are fluffy versions of the adults they’ll soon be. The parents get agitated if I so much as open my front door to step outside. I know they’re guarding the nest and their young, but it’s the only way I know to leave my apartment or I’d climb out the balcony and rappel down the side of the building. When mom and dad are away looking for food, I take all the pictures I want from below of the baby birds. I’m not in their face—hope they feel safe.
All evening they’re very animated and the nest can hardly contain them. They’re more than ready for flying lessons.
Thursday, July 18
Morning comes and the nest is empty! Tear. The fledglings are out, testing their wings. Yay!
The birdies come back to visit now and then. Their loud cheeps are my signal to look out the front door. Dark purple coats. Aviator glasses. Looking sharp!
Monday, July 22
Another cube-bound corporate day. I come home to the perfect antidote. This: