Okay, this is turning into the Bird Blog, but that’s okay. The birds are an important part of our lives these days.
The two babies are growing fast now, which isn’t surprising – Mommy is probably giving them more food each, now that she only has half as many mouths to feed. I’m thinking that their rapid growth is a good thing for another reason: now that they’re bigger, they’re less likely to fall out through the little open space on the right side of the nest.
Nonetheless, we figured it’s better to be safe than sorry, so we put down a layer of blankets underneath the nest. Then yesterday, when the forecast said we might get rain this weekend, I covered the blankets with plastic and taped the whole thing to the concrete so it wouldn’t blow away. Here’s a picture:
Might look a little odd, but that’s okay if it helps protect our babies. After all, it’s only for 20 days or so while the babies are nestlings. And it has an added advantage: they’ve now gotten big enough to turn around and poop over the edge of the nest, and it lands on the plastic, which will be easy to roll up and throw away. No more cleaning the droppings off the concrete.
I’m not posting pictures of them because the mom birds seems to get nervous when I try to get close enough to take good photos. After all she’s been through, I don’t want to cause her any more stress. I guess I’ll have to go out and buy a super telephoto lens if I want close ups of the little ones.
Meanwhile, some of the other swallows who are hanging around (the "old babies") are showing a lot of interest in the little wooden nest cups that we put upstairs under the eaves on the balcony. There’s no ledge up there for them to build on as there is on the first floor patio. One bird seems to have really taken a liking to the cup and sits there a lot. Here she is:
I guess it’s possible that she’s an adult bird and has laid eggs in there and is sitting on them, although I haven’t seen her lining it with mud or anything. I think it’s more likely she’s one of those that hatched in the first brood of summer (ours or another brood) and is staking her claim for where she wants to nest when they come back next spring.
Either way, she’s quite welcome to it. Despite the little tragedies that come along with hosting them, we love having them live with us, keep our yard mosquito-free, and provide us with so much laughter along with a few tears.