02 July 2013

Barn babies

A pair of barn swallows have occupied one of the old nests in the small barn. This week the chicks hatched, so I've been keeping the top half of the stable door open for them, to help them keep the hatchlings fed.

I stood near the nest for ten minutes or so this evening, trying to capture a photo of the parents in mid-feed. They didn't like me being there much, but it didn't stop them feeding - every two or three minutes one of them would arrive at the nest and three little gaping mouths would open.

In this picture the adult is feeding the rightmost chick.

And in this one it's giving me a suspicious look.

The light levels in the barn are low and all the birds are constantly moving, so it's hard to grab a photo that isn't just a blur!

Barn swallows are listed as a threatened species in Ontario (although it's hard to believe around here - there seem to be loads of them. Mind you, there are loads of barns, too, so perhaps that's not a coincidence...), so I'm happy to give this family its nesting room.

The only drawback to having the swallows in our barn is that their nest is directly over the handle of the old freezer we keep the chicken feed in. It's now beautifully caked in swallow dung. Oh well, I expect it will make good compost.

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