Monday, March 21, 2011

Waiting on Swallows

March 21st. Is it Spring yet? I'll know it's Spring when my swallows arrive.

The violet green swallows are the first to arrive, somewhere near the end of March. They spend the winter far to the south, in Central or South America, and it's truly a miracle of nature that they make the long journey north every year. And they come back to the same place!

How do I know this? My neighbor (who lives down the road a bit) and I keep track of "our" swallows. Her large family group is already here. They arrived a few days ago, swooping over her vast array of nesting boxes - checking out the real estate for swallow houses and places to raise their babies.

"My" swallows always come a few days later, where they nest under the eaves in our shop and in the swallow houses we tacked up for them. I believe it's the same family group, although they must lose members along the way, and add new ones with the babies that are born each year. How amazing is it that they teach the new ones where to go year after year?

I keep a journal of when they arrive each year. Last year they came on March 23rd.

A little later, the barn swallows, with their churring little trills and squeaks will arrive to build their mud nests in the eaves of our barn and raise their little ones.

But for now, I await the violet greens, with their lovely twirps and chirps and loop-de-loops in the air. Will it be today? Come on, Swallows!

Do you have swallows nesting where you live?

Do you know when they arrive?


Dreaming said...

We have tree swallows that take over our bluebird houses. My book says they are the first to arrive in spring. I'm wondering if I get them mixed up with bluebirds - which I am seeing right now. We also have barn swallows. I also love their calls, but don't like the mess they make. We discourage them from next building in the eaves of our house and since we keep the barn shut, except for the stall doors, they tend not to next in the barn. When volunteering at the therapeutic riding center you have to be very cautious about where you walk and stop! The birds don't have very nice manners!

Linda Benson said...

Dreaming - I constantly have my bird books and my binocs out to identify birds, especially this time of year. Tree swallows and violet green swallows look really similar, except that violet greens have more white on their faces.

I know some horse people don't like barn swallows in their barns, but I love to watch them raise their babies. They flit in and out building their nests, hatching their babies, taking turns feeding them, and I love watching the babies learn to fly. Such a thrill. And then boom - one day they're all gone for the year.

Enjoy the birds in your birdhouses, whatever they are!

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

I grew up with barn swallows and I LOVE them! Sadly, we don't seem to have any swallows around here. I'll have to look into this, now that I've read your lovely post. Hope your beautiful swallows arrive soon!

Linda Benson said...

Swallow Update (or not) - March 27th and still no swallows! Come on, guys! Are you lost?

Linda Benson said...

April 1st - They're here! They're here! With lovely little chattering, twittering voices, they're diving and swooping and checking out their nest boxes. Now it is finally Spring! At the risk of sounding too ridiculously poetic (although it is National Poetry Month) Swallows make my heart sing. :D

Linda Benson said...

Update on March 28th, 2012. Still waiting for swallows, although my neighbor reported some of "hers" flew over last weekend. It's stormy out at the moment. Maybe they'll wait a few more days.

Linda Benson said...

2012 update - the violet-green swallows arrived on Easter - April 8th - on a sunny warm afternoon. Hello, little guys - Welcome back!!