Empty Nesters

By now, most of my friends are empty nesters, at least those whose nest hasn’t been repopulated with grandchildren, but now i’m one, too.

Yep, as of a few minutes after noon yesterday, the nest is empty.

The good news is that i had a front row seat the whole time.  I covered the early part of this, starting from when barn swallows began building their nest and continuing until the three babies hatched, in my post “Barn Swallows“.

All along i was training them to be accustomed to my standing near the patio door, then to my moving a bit inside the door, then to my opening the door and sticking the camera out, so i’ve been able to get some photos.

Here’s the rest of the story.

Turned out that a couple of days after my previous post on them, a fourth baby appeared.

Barn Swallows


Alas, he didn’t last long, and soon i was seeing only three again, jumping up for joy at Mother’s approach.

Barn Swallows


But mom and dad faithfully took turns regurgitating partially digested insect puree into their gullets until they got old enough that the parents no longer had to puke puree into ’em but could just swoop in and hand off a bug.

Barn Swallows


They grew rapidly until at some point they found the nest too crowded and pushed the weakest one out, and then somewhere along there the two got old enough that the nest could hold only one.  Incidentally, i found only one corpse and, damn me, failed to photograph it before i interred it in the compost pile.

Barn Swallow


The sole survivor kept growing until he was pretty much the same size as his hardworking parents but kept sitting there letting them feed him all day long every day.

And finally yesterday noon i looked up and he was no longer sitting in the nest.  I slid the patio door open, stepped out, and sure enough, he wasn’t quite strong enough to fly up over the patio fence and was fluttering around inside.

Barn Swallow


Well, until i got the camera right in his face and told him i’d never eaten barn swallow but he sure looked delicious.

Which was all it took, and now i’m All Alone.

Well, not really.  Seems that he found the wide world a bit harsher than he expected and food more elusive, so now he flies back to the nest and sits there letting his doting parents continue to feed him.

Barn Swallow

Oh, and since he’s been seeing me all his life. he’ll sit there unconcerned on the nest while i walk around on the patio.  He’s probably expecting me to bring him tasty morsels.

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  1. David Ogden
    Posted 19 July 2016 at 08:32 | Permalink

    Love the head markings. The least you could do is regurgitate some of your breakfast and share!

    • Posted 19 July 2016 at 14:24 | Permalink

      I tried just spitting a little out into my palm for him, but the lazy little thing wanted me to fly up there and spit it into his mouth. Oh please.

  2. Lav Mck
    Posted 27 July 2016 at 04:31 | Permalink

    Great job, Louis. As always when I read your stories I felt I was right there while that swallow grew up. Thanks for sharing bg

    • Posted 27 July 2016 at 06:22 | Permalink

      Thank you for identifying them as barn swallows. I’ve been watching ’em enough now that i can identify them at a distance by their flight pattern, which i’ve read is one of the tricks you birders use.

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