Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tippi Heddron Day

I should probably be terrified, but I am charmed. And more than a little awed.

You know the cautionary tales you've been hearing about how the North American swallow is disappearing? I'm pretty sure I know where they all went. They are alive and thriving and evidently vacationing at our lake place.  

When we trekked across the prairies to spend some time there a couple of summers ago, we discovered two swallows' nests tucked into the rafters of our deck roof. They are built of twigs and mud and the avian contractors had left a bit of a mess on the deck, bird contractors evidently being no different from their human cousins. I actually thought they were wasp nests at first and cheered the Spousal Unit's suggestion that we knock them down. But when we realized what they were, we figured nah, leave them be. Especially since the siding of the Manitoba place is made of a concrete-wood composite. If the owners of the bird dwellings tried to drill holes into our siding, like the woodpeckers who have been plaguing our house in Calgary have been doing for the past dozen years, they would just suffer massive headaches and considerable dental bills.

So the swallows nests stayed intact, and we enjoyed watching the aerial acrobatics of the little birds, as they swooped bat-like across the horizon.  

It was after we returned home that I first heard stories on the radio that the North American swallows were disappearing at an alarming rate. I cheered the handful of winged gymnasts living at the lake, wishing them well in repopulating their kind from the comforts of their lakefront homes.

Evidently they took my wishes to heart.

As we stood on the deck during the final trek that summer, unwinding from cross country drive and watching the sunset on the lake, we were thrilled to see six, no seven, no at least a dozen swallows darting and diving across the sky. So what if one of them flew in a straight trajectory at the Spousal Unit while he was peeing off the deck (what's lake life without taking a little not-suitable-for-city-living license)? No harm done. No doubt just playing chicken.

When I woke the next morning, I lay in bed watching swallows hover and freefall. They all seemed to be congregating outside my window, which faces not the lake, but the stand of trees and abandoned barn across the road. There seemed to be a few more than the dozen we had seen in the evening. Exponentially more, as it turns out. When I got up for a better look, I was stunned to see that there was not a spot to be had, not even for the skinniest swallow, on the hydro lines that stretch along the dirt road. I counted at least ninety swallows.

Time to make a movie, I think. 


Anonymous said...

90? wow. Honestly I would keep imagining a fully fledged bird attack and get all paranoid about it hahah

Anonymous said...

oh, wow I send in my comment and you were on the other end on my blog, commenting. this is kinda cool.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

What great timing we have, Whiskyhigh! We should try for this tag-team blogging more often.
I was imaging the bird attack as well, until I realized that they were being kept rather busy controlling the mosquito population.