The swallows usually arrived at our farm in early May and then began building their nests. These were barn swallows, but every year there were some who would rather build their nest on our front porch. Using mud and dried grasses, we discovered they were very messy builders, dropping muddy stuff on our porch floor. We did not like this and discouraged them by tearing down their structures. However, the very next day they were at it again with more mud and more grasses and twigs! These birds were very determined, but so were we! They wouldn’t give up until after six or more futile attempts.
One year, getting into the heat of summer, when we thought the skirmishes with these swallows were over, we had finally relaxed, only to discover a finished nest right up there on our front porch. And it had eggs in it. Soon there were two baby swallows. We watched as day after day these birds grew older and we were thinking we would soon get to see them tumble out of their nest and try out their wings.
But one morning the long electric wire stretching from our light pole to the windmill was solidly filled with swallows. We had never seen so many swallows. All their heads were facing south and they looked so orderly with their black pointed swallow-tails all in a row. The next day there was not a swallow anywhere! We finally determined they must have headed south for the winter. We hurried to our front porch, and the nest was empty! Our hearts sank! They were gone. We couldn’t see a sign of them anywhere. How could those two little birdlings make such a trip? They had had no flying lessons and possessed no wing muscles. For the next several days you would have heard us worrying about the future of those birds.
Yes, that’s the way life is! When your neighbors are away on a trip, you can’t help but worry about them and you always hope they are having a safe journey. That’s exactly how we felt about our front porch neighbors!
By Doris Stensland – May, 2014