By Eddie Piervincenzi
I have never seen a more spectacular drama than I am about to relate.
Around the end of June a phoebe fledged her brood and vacated my garage. I should explain that we use our garage more as a carport so the doors are never closed, giving access to many birds. A barn swallow decided to take up residence in the vacated nest. After a while I noticed that there were 5 little yellow beaks in the nest. I was very excited because in all the years of living in Andes we had never seen a barn swallow. I watched them grow and was amazed that 5 little birds could fit into a 3 inch nest. Well, they didn’t! There were 3 in the nest and 2 sitting on top of them. The adult birds were extremely busy feeding this brood.
Then on July 24th I saw a baby bird on the floor of the garage. Somehow the parents managed to get it back into the nest which is on top of a lighting fixture on the ceiling. Next day I saw a very young bird on top of the garage roof. I watched from a second floor window in amazement as the parent birds frantically fed this poor baby. After quite a long time the baby managed to fly (sort of) and landed on a fence rail about 80 feet away from the garage. That is when the drama started.
Suddenly there were about 14 to 18 birds coming to the rescue. They were barn swallows and tree swallows all bringing food to the baby. My garage looked like Grand Central Station. There were 6 or 7 birds flying in as an equal number flew out. I stood at my window unable to take my eyes away. This went on for about one hour. By the end of the day there was no sign of the poor baby bird. I was crushed.
On July 26th I looked in the garage and saw 5 beaks in the nest again. I was so excited. Today, July 27th, I saw a little swallow sitting on the track of the garage door. It is about 5 feet away from the nest. Mama made many trips to feed this youngster. And during the course of the day the little rascal flew back to the nest and back again to the track several times. As I write this, two have already fledged and I am quite confident that tomorrow the nest will be empty.~