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Barn Swallows

I love those voracious consumers of insects. Often when I am working with a tractor or my horses there will be squadron of swallows following me around the field.  I notice them more when I am clipping (mowing) pasture. These beautiful birds are fun to watch. It almost reminds me of a Star Wars movie. Here I am on this big tractor motoring my way through acres of grass and my squadron of swallows usually six or seven swooping here and there, darting this way and that.

At one time swallows built their nests in caves, but now they have an affinity for man-made structures. Hence the name barn swallows. I have been systematically adding habitat for wild life on our farm and the increasing populations and variety of feathered friends is impressive and beneficial.  Most birds have a specific function, whether it is an affinity for weed seed, grubs, or flying insects.  Swallows love flies and mosquitoes, and their babies love to eat about every 15 minutes or so.  Some swallows will fly over 600 miles a day on their feeding missions to try and stay off their young ones’ appetite.

My only challenge with swallows is that they have now discovered my front porch! Eeeeeeek! They are welcome to the sides of my barn, the rafters of my stables, but the front porch is not going to work. I definitely don’t want swallows hanging around and making a mess on the front porch, but I definitely do want those insect eating machines living on the farm.  I also know that once that nest gets built, it will be inhabited for generations to come and when those critters have babies they will be dive bombing us every time we leave the house trying to protect their little ones.

So I have been conflicted over how to handle this invasion of good on my porch. We keep knocking down their front porch nesting efforts, but those critters are more determined than a strong-willed two year old! For now, I am going to treat them like a two year old and keep persisting one more time than them.

Working with nature to raise good food,