Monday, March 12, 2012
We awoke at 5 am yesterday to the chatter of a pair of barn swallows, our first arrivals of the year. They were perhaps overwhelmed by the blank slate of opportunity presented by the walls of our house.
We greet them with mixed emotions. They do indeed make a mess of the walls, decks, and cars, and require vigilance to be deterred from constructing their mud nests in totally inappropriate places (on or above doors, for example). But they also eat large quantities of mosquitoes, which may be why they nest on structures, having been tolerated for generations for doing so. And my garden last week was overrun at times by mosquitoes; I should have known that the swallows were near.
We love the slow rhythms of avian arrivals and departures. I've written of swallows before, here and here. We expect that we'll see the last of the sandhill cranes trickle away this week and soon we'll start looking for the first of the kingbirds.