Friday, June 19, 2009

Babes in the Barn

For the last ten years or so we've had the pleasure of welcoming barn swallows to our farm. Yeah, yeah, they poop on the floor, but their antics and their family ethic is worth the clean-up. The same nest has been in the corner of the barn ceiling since the start. New tenants spruce up the place every couple years with a feather or two, more mud and the designer touch --- a few strands of horse hair.

A couple weeks ago the parents moved in, working hard to make the mud cupped nest suitable to raise a family. Six days later we heard the first "peeps". Before long the chicks were demanding more and more chow. "Hey, over here!"

"We're hungry! C'mon, can we get some service here?"

Flies make up about 70% of the grub for the little ones with Dad and Mom sharing equally in the chore of feeding.

Providing for the chicks requires almost non-stop attention from the parents.

The swallows provide dinner for their chicks and entertainment for us. The farm benefits from a greener approach to pest control. It's obvious --- a happy chick is one with it's mouth closed!


Sue Saturday, June 20, 2009 2:28:00 AM  

I love these pics...especially the "open-mouths" ones. As a parent , how do you choose who gets the tidbit???? Ack! Especially as boisterous as they are!

The Old Gray Egg Saturday, June 20, 2009 6:46:00 AM  

Nice photos. They say that you can judge the health of a swallow based on its tail length. Your adult seems to be a very strapping specimen. Do you have cats? Our barn swallows seem to love dive bombing the cats. So far they have eluded leaping claws.

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