Soon I can see the babies’ downy heads popping up over the edge of the nest, beaks wide open, screeching to be fed. Not long after that, I see the little ones piled on top of each other, grown too big to comfortably fit in the nest anymore. Then I see them lined up on the ledge, maybe one or two of the less brave ones still in the nest, all ready to test their wings. And then, before I know it, the little ones are gone, and mommy and daddy are preparing for another brood.
Usually they have four or five little ones in each batch, but this year the nest looked particularly full, so I got out my ladder and had a peep inside. I counted several times to make sure I wasn’t mistaken, but here are definitely seven baby swallows in this crop. They’re about ready to fledge, so it’s kind of funny to see all seven of them still trying to fit in their little nest, more piled on top of it and each other than actually inside.
They’re testing their wings now, stretching and fluttering and making short test flights. I’ll be sad to see them go, but it’s always a delight to witness this miracle each spring.
Not once, but twice!
Do you ever birdwatch?
Are there any "new arrivals" in your life right now?