We’ve had fantastic tenants at our apartment recently – a family of barn swallows decided to make their nest on our balcony, and we’ve been honored to watch the mommy and daddy bird grow their family!
It all started with a flutter of activity one morning in June – no doubt daddy bird scouting his nest-building location. We woke up the next morning to the nest! Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting photos, as the balcony corner is dark, but hopefully you can see a little here:
The next few days were quiet. Daddy bird would sit on the balcony railing or wind chimes, and give a signal of alarm for any noise or worry, sending mommy bird flying from her cupped nest.
We departed on vacation, and I worried Travis would miss the chance to see the birds hatch, but nope! It wasn’t until early July that we saw little beaks appear above the rim of the nest. We got to watch mommy and daddy bird swoop in to feed them many times over the next few days. Travis loved the excitement, calling out whenever he saw “Daddy bird.”
I was amazed how long the four chicks stayed in the nest; they looked awfully cramped up there by the end. Then one day, we looked outside and saw that two of the fledglings had taken their first flight! They were perched on the balcony, looking very downy and adorable and uncertain.
A torrential rain storm swept through right after, unfortunately. We were very relieved to see at least one of the fledglings had returned to the nest after, and I’m hopeful the other one made out okay in the storm. Meanwhile it was touching to see mommy and daddy bird swoop in during the storm to make sure their chicks were okay!
Travis and I continued the fun at home with mommy and baby bird play. He sat in a little nest made out of brown blankets, and I “flew” in to give him bites of Surf Sweets gummy worms (a leftover birthday treat!) as a snack. He gets a kick out of the fact that birds eat worms, and now probably believes all worms taste gummy and fruity.
We’re still waiting for the final two chicks to leave the nest, and are honored to have shared in the birds’ journey!
Update: Here are the three surviving chicks, on the day before they left us for good. I had heard swallows didn’t return to the nest after their first flight, so was delighted that they lingered for nearly a week, playing on our balcony by day, and sleeping in the nest at night. So glad we were able to give them a safe place to begin their life’s journey.