For the past two summers we've had barn swallows living in our carport, trying to raise young to maturity. This year, on their second try, they finally succeeded. We got to watch the chicks grow up, from Mohawked newborns to fledglings to aerodynamic marvels. The parents got used to our presence; the young ones knew us from birth and were almost without fear of us.
On Friday, they were making a lot of noise in the carport, and when Maryelizabeth looked out, there were eight of them fluttering around, not four. A little later in the day we counted thirty on a power line. They were gathering into a flock for their winter journey. Still later, they had left.
We like having them around, although it'll be easier to keep the cars and carport floor clean with them gone. We wish them the best of luck this winter, and hope to see them when it warms up again.
A local farmer told me recently that birds have been on the move much earlier than usual this year. This, he said, means we're in for a cold winter. There's no way to know but to wait and see, which we will.
But we'll be laying in plenty of firewood.
Here's a repeat look at one of our carport swallows, on a favorite perch.