Regular readers will be familiar with the successes and tragedies that have befallen a pair of Lesser Striped Swallows that have chosen our house for their summer breeding abode. Mud marks under the eaves bear witness to the many nests that have been built over the years – as well as the variations in where the openings have been placed. For years a pair of swallows would faithfully build – and rebuild – in the same place. While they have always managed to raise a brood it has not been easy. My blog has chronicled many nests falling down, sometimes with eggs or hatchlings, and the patient rebuilding of them. These birds are resilient and are willing to start over – again and again and again!
Two summers ago, after yet another structural failure, the swallows built their best nest ever. This strong nest outside our front door still stands firmly – without any maintenance required.
It is sheltered from the elements and is perfect except … they had hardly settled there when White-rumped Swifts booted them out, eggs and all, and have taken it over as their home for the past two summers. Back to the drawing board it was and, after some serious contemplation, the swallows opted to build another nest round the side of the house. Here they raised a family after having to rebuild their nest more than once as earlier ones came loose and fell to the ground.
The good news this summer is that not only one pair came to claim their real estate, but two!
One or other of the pairs tried the sturdy nest but were chased away by the swifts. Each pair then decided to build a nest on the site of the two previous ones respectively. One pair perched on the bathroom window for days before starting the construction in earnest – where they sourced the mud in this drought is a mystery.
They laboured for days on end.
Finally the nest was complete and the laying of eggs could begin.
The other pair had almost completed their nest.
Then … disaster struck … both nests collapsed on Saturday.
The eggs lay shattered on the ground below this one. The other nest had not quite reached completion.
These dear birds are starting from scratch to build their homes.