From Full House to Empty Nest

We enjoyed picture-perfect weather during our recent visit to family in Indiana, just what was needed after the winter they endured.  They were the kind of days where you just wanted to sit on the porch with a cold drink in hand, enjoy quiet family time while listening to the birds warbling their greetings.  Adding to the enjoyment was my discovery of the family of barn swallows who had taken up residence near the porch roofline. I took delight in watching their antics, as a burgeoning full house soon looked to become an empty nest.  Unfortunately when dad selected the nest site, which he is prone to do, he forgot someone might be interested in capturing images of feedings and first flight so his choice lacked proper lighting, most likely his intent.  This did not deter me from snapping a few shots anyway. Four little babes, an average number for this brood, watch warily as they wait for mom or dad to return with a tasty snack.  Momma takes the greater responsibility for incubating the eggs, which averages 14-19 days, with another 18-23 days needed for the babes to fledge.   Both parents provide equal support for feeding and keeping the nest clean. As I watched four little wide-open mouths, momma swooped in.  Time for dinner! Hanging onto the nest mom fed her young, all the while keeping an eye on me.  I tried to stay as far away as my camera would allow.

And then there were two!  And these two were in no hurry to leave their little abode, now that they could spread their wings a bit.  Time and again as mom and dad swept past, no amount of prodding convinced them to leave this comfy little cup.  After several hours of standing on the ledge testing their new wings, they took to the air.

Empty little cup nest, most likely built by momma – mud pellets lined with grass and feathers.

We thought we had seen the last of them but near dusk all four babes reappeared in the nest.  After doing my homework I learned that the parents lead the fledglings back to the nest at night and continue feedings for a week after the maiden flight.

Whether you are part of a full house or an empty-nester, hope you are having a relaxing summer. 🙂

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