Barn Swallow and Nest
Three weeks ago, while visiting the Millbrook Marsh and enjoying the birds and the amazing clouds, I spent some time photographing the duck blind.
I mentioned that day that I had discovered a nest where I got to enjoy watching a pair of barn swallows feeding their young. But I didn't mention that the nest itself is actually inside the duck blind, attached to a beam at the center of the ceiling.
I've visited the nest a few times since then, checking on the progress of the wee birds. At first they were merely little fuzzy heads sticking out, wide yellow mouths gaping: "Feed me!" The parents brought them bugs; in the one photo, I later discovered, one of the parents had brought the babies a small dragonfly or damselfly.
That happened around the same time that I watched a newly minted dragonfly being born to flight, and that I watched a huge green dragonfly laying its eggs in the Arboretum's lily pond. I admit I felt as though I'd seen the whole circle of dragonfly life, all happening right there in front of me within a short period of time.
When I visited this time, the nest seemed quite full of bird. A large tail was sticking out (you can see it hanging out of the lower left part of the nest).
There was no room for the mother bird inside the nest anymore, and instead she clung to a nearby spot on the ceiling. Occasionally she flew up, grasped the edge of the nest with her claws, and fed what I can only loosely call "baby" birds. Soon they'll be getting their own apartment and going off to college!
I was sitting crouched down in the corner inside the duck blind to take this shot. The mother bird gave me a pretty thorough scolding for hanging out there with my camera, invading her little family's privacy.
I admit I wondered as I left if the nest will be empty next time I go there. *sigh* They grow up so quickly . . .