Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Late Broods

Our Swallows returned about on time, last May, and set about building a new nest on a north facing down pipe under the eaves of the house.

Adult Swallow  (c. J. Coelho)

Given the wet summer,  a brood of four was about right, and this reduced to 3 as the runt of the brood, fell out of (or was pushed from ) the nest and perished on the ground.

Three eventually fledged, though one was very weak in flight and I watched it fly at ground level and just above, and in turn it attracted the attentions of the cats: I found a pile of feathers on the lawn, a day after its first flight.  

The remaining two fledglings seemed to be able to take care of themselves, but like teenagers, they return to the nest to rest and overnight.. this continued for about a week into mid July when they moved off to the local gathering place, a telegraph pole on our boundary.  About 12 or 14 young Swallows gather here, chattering and exchanging information , no doubt, and emitting frequent alarm calls, to alert for real or imaginary predators.  

Two juveniles ready to fledge (c. O. O'Sullivan)
After a quiet week or so, the adult birds have started to return to the nest site and sing from the adjacent telephone cable, holding a territory.  I suspect they are now on a second brood, latish but not too late, especially if we get a good August.

  I suppose just two young raised is not a great return after their migration up from Africa last spring and with a return journey ahead of them in September/October.. Swallows are the Olypians of the avian world!

Adult singing in August.. second brood on the way! (c. O.O'Sullivan)

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