Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bye bye birdies...

For several weeks now, we've had baby cliff swallows in this nest high above our front door under the eaves. At first we could only see the edge of their beaks, and couldn't tell how many were up there as they would come to the edge and then go back.
But they soon grew and began jockeying for position in the ever-shrinking nest. Five abreast, pushing up, up, and up to the edge of nest - they waited for mom and dad to bring breakfast, lunch and dinner.

And then they learned how to turn around on the edge of the nest and leave me with presents that required pretty much daily clean-up of the front porch.

Then one afternoon last week, I watched the mama (or dad) fly all around the nest, chirping intently and landing all around the nest -- clinging to the side of the walls and landing on the hanging light fixture.

I'm certain she was saying, "Come on out, you can do it, just flap your wings, come on now!" They kept opening their beaks for food, but mama wasn't bringing them food, she was giving them a lesson.
And sure enough, the next day, one lone little swallow ventured out to the lamp. He sat there, looking very alone and a little forlorn, with all his siblings across the way, safely cocooned in the nest.
But soon he was joined by another sibling. And for the last 3-4 days, they've all be flying around and around our house - soaring in the blue sky, chirping happily to one another -- 5 not-so-little babies and two proud parents.

What a sight it is to see and their song is full of joy. I feel blessed to have been able to be a part of it.

13 comments:

Annie in Austin said...

Great series of photos, Diana! Lucky you to see the cliff swallows and lucky birds to choose a house that enjoyed the nesting.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Meredehuit ♥ said...

We had this experience last year... so wonderful to see new life. But I didn't enjoy the mess. We didn't let them build their nest on our porch this year. I miss the birdies, but not the emess.

Diana said...

Annie - Thanks. It has been so rewarding to watch them. Just now even, I see one in the nest and one on top of the light, resting from his morning flight.

Meredehuit -- Isn't it fun to watch them? Sometimes I put a flat plastic garbage bag on the porch so I can just pick it up and throw it away - instant mess gone!

RBell said...

What a cool experience. Glad you were able to see the youngsters grow and even their first flight.

getgrounded said...

Oh those babies! Love the one you caught with the great wing spread. I wonder how they fared flying in their first rain yesterday?

Jinx in the Garden said...

A friend of mine that has these little guys on her front porch. They are back for a second year, and last year they successfully grew three groups to adulthood.

Gail said...

Diana, I so loved these photos~I suspect the poop cleanup was worth it! gail

Diana said...

RBell - It was so fun for me - like watching tv all day! I must check on them 20-30 times a day!

Gettinggrounded - They seems to love the rain - flying around like it doesn't bother them much.

Jinx - What a great story - 3 families sounds like 3x the fun to watch!

Gail - I actually quit worrying about the poop a few years ago. If you hose it off regularly, it's pretty easy! And as you say, well worth it for the endless show!

Northern Shade said...

I love watching baby birds being raised in the garden, and it looks like you have a great place to view the cliff swallows. The shot of them all lined up around the edge as they wait for feeding is so sweet and funny. How could anybody resist those rounded bodies and mustached faces, although the parents must only see big gaping black holes.

Diana said...

NorthernShade - They are so cute. Still in the nest here at night, but they are busy flying all day now. I will be sad when they move on in a couple of days. I'll miss their cheeps and swoops.

Meredith said...

What a spectacular series of photos, Diana! How fun to get to see the stages as they got big enough to peek out and then later leave the nest. I love that shot with all of them looking out! I know you will miss them.

vertie said...

so sweet, Diana. Glad you got to watch them grow and fly off.

Diana said...

Meredith - The birds were a joy to watch. I kept standing by the front door watching like it was live tv!

Vertie - They were still sleeping in the nest last week before we left for FL. I suppose they will be gone when we get back -- off to make families of their own!