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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Jun 6, 2014

We have two barn swallows that, considering this time of year are most likely a mated pair, decided to build a nest in our garage.

Apparently they did not get the memo that they are barn swallows, not garage swallows.

Or possibly, they are progressive barn swallows who have decided they could do better than doing the same old thing the same old way.

Unfortunately for them, they decided to build their mud nest above my wife’s car.

Anywhere else, it probably would not have been a problem, but after part of a day, my wife’s car had many of their dropped materials, mud and other stuff, on the car roof.

My wife expressed her dissatisfaction and I closed the doors the swallows were using to go in and out, thereby giving them their eviction notice.

But the swallows had a plan B.

They put in effect and started building a nest in the right angle corner where our house meets the garage, a safe location that is outside.

Spring is a time of year when great things happen all around us.

Considering that Memorial Day is now in the past, the crops have emerged and doing nicely, our windows have been open day and night with an occasional closing when the humidity number exceeds the temperature, and the lawn mower is now the tool of the season, we can say summer is here.

The time of harvest of road ditch asparagus is nearing an end and I am watching for the puffs of white that fill the air when the cottonwood trees set their seeds free to any which way the wind blows.

These are just a few things in this season of reproduction and new growth that is all around us.

It has happened for thousands of years every spring, and it still amazes me.

With the barn swallows relocated nest above the kitchen window, we have a very good view of their coming and going as they complete their home.

We watch them perch inches away on the eaves trough downspout for a brief moment, sometime with a beakful of mud, and then they are gone.

Think about it.

These swallows are building a nest of mud instinctively. They are putting it in a protected place because they need the dried mud for their nest to stay dry.

And they know that they need to add damp mud to the drying mud so it dries into one piece.

They know it needs to support eggs, an adult swallow that will hatch the eggs, and that it will be sturdy enough to support the eggs after they are hatched for the growing young.

They do all this with no schooling on the proper construction of building a mud nest and no tools other than a beak.

When I cleaned the mud off the car roof, I saw how consistent it was in texture. They even knew where to find building quality mud.

I checked the relocated nest a few minutes ago, and it looks like it is near completion.

It is not exactly the neatest looking piece of construction, but what construction site is ever neat? And look at what they were using for building material.

This was just the birds we could see. We have had goldfinches, orioles, robins and warblers, to name a few, all eating at our feeders and they have been doing what they need to do where we can’t see them.

I am grateful the barn swallows did not take their eviction notice personally.

They had a job to do and they did not have time to form a support group or organize a protest about being treated unfairly.

The barn swallows know that first things are first.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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