Irish Blessing

Irish Blessing

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Backdoor Neighbors Hard To "Swallow"

"On the Banks of Plum Creek" was just one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books among my childhood favorites. We are writing our own story "On the banks of Peace Creek."  Peace Creek is less than half a mile from Randy's childhood home. Our cattle spend time in what we call the Peace Creek pasture. Our daily tasks take us over the bridges that mark the various crossings for the meandering creek. .

Peace Creek has an influx of new neighbors. No, there's not a sudden population boom of people on the Stafford/Reno County line. But we do seem to have a whole lot of birds.
We were on an excursion to see if I could find a rainbow. The sun had come out after a rain, and it seemed like the right conditions. I may not have found a rainbow in the sky, but we certainly found a bevy of barn swallows.

We parked at one of the bridges over Peace Creek so I could take photos with the deep blue sky and storm clouds in the background. Before long, the air was filled with soaring and sweeping barn swallows, who didn't seem to like our invasion of their space and protested rather loudly.
Randy climbed down the banks and took photos of the nests. They completely lined one side of the bridge buttress.
The Audubon Society says:
One of our most familiar birds in rural areas and semi-open country, this swallow is often seen skimming low over fields with a flowing, graceful flight. It seems to have adopted humans as neighbors, typically placing its nest in barns or garages, or under bridges or wharves; indeed, it is now rare to find a Barn Swallow nest in a site that is not man-made.
None of the bridge dwellers were ready for their close-up, as old film star Gloria Swanson famously told Mr. DeMille. But I had a couple of photos of them from 2015. Until then, I hadn't realized how pretty they are. They usually dart around so quickly, catching insects mid-air, that I've never seen their pretty plumage.
"If swallows nested in farm buildings, it meant well-being and good fortune for the owners. People believed that the presence of these birds protected farm animals from diseases and curses and buildings from fires." 
We can use all the luck we can get, I suppose. And while we don't mind the swallows who've taken up residence under the bridges, we aren't as fond of two persistent ones who seem determined to build a nest over our back door.
You'd think they'd get the message after both Randy & I have knocked the nest down multiple times.
May 2017 - You can see some of the nest-building materials on the bird's beak!
But, no, they keep collecting material to add. And I don't really appreciate the dive bombing either. We were here first!

Though we had to settle for rainbow colors on birds and banks instead of an actual rainbow, we found plenty of beauty on our afternoon drive along Peace Creek.
Sometimes, the journey doesn't go as planned. But there can be just as much joy in a detour.


  1. We have had them try building nests over our doors so one day I printed off the best pictures I could find of owls. I taped them to the screen door and darned if it didn't work! Of course I got a laugh thinking about the reaction people would have coming to our door and seeing that!

  2. We have them around our house, too. They have become so tame that they follow me around while I mow. Swooping and calling, collecting up all the bugs I stir up as I ride along. Like flying electron around my lawn mowing nucleus. And no mosquitos!

    Such lovely photos, thanks for sharing.

    1. Yes, one of my Facebook friends said I should be thankful for them because they do eat mosquitoes and other insects. It's all in how you look at things, right?! Thanks for taking time to comment!

  3. Those nests under bridge are very impressive stacked on top one another like that.

    1. Yes, I was thankful my photographic assistant was nimble enough to take the photos for me!