Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Whoops, Swallow Fledglings!
After some errands this afternoon, I climbed the stairs to my deck with the dog, Dakota, bounding in front of me...only to come eye to eye with a couple of small fledgling swallows sitting there at the top of the stairs! The dog dove after them and I dove after her and quickly shooed her into the house even as I was being dive bombed by the parents. The babies barely hopped away but didn't get caught.
Yahoo!! Fledgling swallows--4 of them--but just barely beginning to learn to fly. Tho these photos are at the "edge of acceptable," the fuzziness of their baby feathers is quite obvious. And while not obvious here, they are very tiny. All this means the dog and the two cats are under house confinement for awhile, which won't make them very happy I know...but I adore the swallows that live all over WillOaks Farm and Campground. I'm thrilled by their annual return and it's truly a delight to watch them swoop for bugs on the fly. They follow the lawn mowers around as "dinner" gets stirred up and they have a many different nesting places all around our acreage.
But I had a heart breaking experience a few years ago when I foolishly installed a bird house for them near my house (only because they seemed determined to build a nest in the garage.) They made their nest in the bird house, laid eggs, raised the young, and at some point, Mariah, my small but deadly black cat, caught the male. I tried to rescue and save him, but he was mortally wounded. My neighbor told me that swallows mate for life and although I'm unsure if this is true...I was haunted to see the female struggle to raise the young herself and projected on her the despair and loneliness of losing a loved one. I can't explain why, but I found it heart rending and I felt responsible.....
So not this time!! Those parents are fearless! They swooped down on me just now as I stood on the deck struggling to snap some photos of the 4 fledglings lined up along the electric cable to the house. They also caught more bugs and came and fed their babies all lined up there. I'm determined to protect these lovely creatures from my band of "hunters" here for a few days, until their flying improves...wish me luck!!