By Michael Suchorsky

Most upsetting.

Tree Swallows return in fewer numbers every year. I have set up 16 birdhouses on flanges attached to steel poles with rodent guards—to stop shrews, chipmunks, red squirrels, weasels, fishers and raccoons from having fledglings, or eggs, for lunch.

Most successful.

But today a bear laid waste to one of my birdhouses. The bear was obviously nearby watching my investigation of the scene. I departed for a short while and upon returning saw that the bear had moved on to bend a second steel pole like a straw, tear apart that birdhouse and consume those youngsters as well. I LOVE the bears. . . but this is disheartening. There is no way I can stop the progression of this newly discovered ingenuity resulting in a very specific culinary delight.

Presently having a glass of wine and watching the end of the day acrobatics of the swallows garnering dinner above the treetops, with a backdrop of puffy white clouds in a bright blue sky. This seemingly effortless improvisational aerial dance always delights me. In my mind I soar with them and celebrate. This evening the flight is mixed with melancholy. Every year their numbers decrease as they lose their habitat to our endless development while our numbers soar, actually leaping in the billions over short periods of time. I felt I was supplying a safe haven for the swallows to reproduce, only to find it surprisingly compromised by another natural denizen of this mountainside. A complex ever changing world.~