In case you don’t know, swallows are the bird equivalent of a vintage Alpha Romeo- fast, free and elegant. I just came across a photo that I took of some nesting materials that my local swallows had dropped. They worked very hard for several weeks, collecting tiny pieces of straw, downy feathers and other fragile odds and ends.
The swallows’ favorite collecting ground was where the chicken coop used to be. The Violet-Green swallows would make a couple trial runs, land, and start collecting a mouthful of straw or feathers (though they only choose the white ones) before flying off. The Barn swallows, larger and stronger fliers, didn’t even bother landing. They simply snatched their materials as they flew by.
The most entertaining part of swallow watching was the aerial tussles. One swallow would finally secure what they wanted and three others would chase after it. Occasionally, a feather or piece of straw would be dropped, and each swallow in the vicinity would gracefully try to be the first one to retrieve it before it reached the ground. Each victor would then rocket towards the home nest, trying to evade all the others.
There aren’t very many swallows out today. I’m guessing that the nests are all built, eggs laid, and the mothers are all incubating the eggs. Soon, there will be more gaping mouths to feed, and the swallows will (hopefully) be here again.