May 1, 2017

Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

When we first moved in, these birds nested in our ramshackle coal shed for a couple of years, then after a particularly bad year in which many more than usual didn’t make it back over the Sahara, we’ve been a little bereft. Hundreds of them and their close relative the House Martins (Delichon urbicum), still frequent our airspace and this year there’s even been a little more interest in our outbuildings. Next door’s car port has a nest though and the messy side garden we keep our hens in has proved a useful area for gathering straw and feathers with which to do much of the construction.

They do look a little ungainly on the ground, having such short legs and feet better adapted to perching than waddling around. I was quite pleased to get these shots as they don’t hang about for long due to the fact that as well as being a very busy time for them, the hens do get a little territorial about their garden, the more dominant ones liking to chase any intruder in a terrific show of chicken ferocity. Of course the Swallows just casually spring into the air and zoom off, sometimes doing a couple of circuits just above hen head height as if to prove a point.