While we were gone on vacation, the barn swallows got busy laying their eggs...
There were only four last year, but this summer they laid FIVE! How appropriate!
I wasn't holding my breath expecting them all to survive, especially considering how I rescued one of the babies from the porch last summer.
Mama and Papa faithfully watched over the eggs.
On Friday, June 27, the first babies hatched (that's a week earlier than last year).
By Friday evening four were hatched (notice the bit of egg on the left side under 2 of the babies' heads).
Saturday morning S found a bit of eggshell on the welcome mat.
Sure enough! Five babies in the nest!
By the next day, feathers were beginning to sprout.
After that, it was a bit hard to identify parts, so they were left alone for a few days.
It wasn't until we were able to count five beaks hanging over the edge of the nest that we knew they were all still alive and well.
A top view...I didn't have to rescue any of the birds this year, although there were some risk-takers. Most of the birds stayed safe in the nest, but this one liked living on the edge...
I nicknamed him "J."
They grew so fast. Here are two of the "babies" in the nest...
Where are the others?
Trying out their wings, of course!
This is a picture to show what we have had to deal with by the swallows building on the other side of the door this year...
You'll notice what is directly under the nest...the door handle! That picture was taken right after M cleaned up the door handle, but let's just say we were rather creative about opening the door the past several weeks. We even tried just keeping the screen door propped open, but then the parent birds would perch on the top edge of the screen and make messes on the inside of the screen also. Ick.
The birds have all abandoned the nest now, but the last time we were able to see them all in the same vicinity, there were five babies flying around.