The swallows return every year, almost to the day -- they were a little early this year, April 15 (they were about a week early last summer, too. It caused great commotion in the nest-box building department!)
While the tree swallows show up in mid-April, the barn swallows are a little later making their appearance. Perhaps that's because they don't pop into the stable to say 'hello' until they are ready to nest, but it's only been the past few weeks that our pair has been flitting in and out of the stable, making themselves at home.
Last year, they wisely relocated their nest -- until then, they nested over the light near the cat-staircase, so Achmed could climb up and launch himself out from the base-camp platform about four feet away from the nest. He never got even close to them, but it was not good for anyone's nerves -- not the swallows, for sure. Not mine. Probably not Achmed's, as he had that "Sylvester and Tweety" look when he discovered that he was in mid-air, paws snatching at nothing, just before falling 8' to the floor. Even the horses snorted in alarm.
It's a lot calmer now. The pair have relocated to the top of a different light, well away from lurking Achmeds.
Barn swallows are hard to tell from their tree swallow cousins when in flight, but at rest it's easy to see the difference. With their buff coloured heads and necklaces, they are quite distinctive from the creamy white necks of the tree swallows.
Both have those lovely long forked tails -- and just how long those tails are is evident when Mom is hunkered into her nest!
We love having them in the barn. Their almost endless swallow-talk cheers up the place. And they put away more mosquitoes and blackflies than you can possibly count!