30 July 2018
When you work with Barn Swallows (Hirundo rustica) as much as I do, you develop a special attachment to the birds, and in a way they become like family.
Many of the young birds that have hatched this year have left the nest but there are still several nests with young of various ages awaiting their chance at life. I was especially touched to see young birds right at the lip of their nests just trying to pick up courage to make that first flight into the great unknown. Some of their siblings have already left the nest. This one has made the flight from the nest to the window in the barn and is measuring up the outdoors, trying to figure out trees, grass and sky perhaps, a scampering squirrel, even the feel of raindrops, the gentle caress of the breeze.
Until now its entire world has been the confines of the cup nest where it was born.
Two nests, side by side had birds ready to go. They were still being fed by their parents but try as I might I was unable to get a shot of the food exchange; it happens in the blink of an eye.
First there was one.
And then there were two.
Nest No. 38 is right alongside Nest No. 39 and a similar level of trepidation gripped the occupants.
By this morning, however, (31 July) all had left their nest to embark on the hazardous journey of life. Sadly many of them will not survive to even migrate out of Canada, but those that do will be the healthiest and fittest, ready to pass on their genes to subsequent generations of Barn Swallows.
We have done our best to help them on their way and we hope to continue to accumulate knowledge that will enable us to help them to survive for generations to come.
A Red-spotted Purple (Limenitis arthemis) entertained me as I waited to take pictures of the swallows.
And it was joined by a Monarch (Danaus plexippus), a species which seems to be uncommon this year.
A male American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) came for a drink. I am assuming this is a bird we banded earlier in the spring.
I know you will all join me in wishing our swallows favourable winds and a bounty of insects. May they grace our skies forever.