Saturday, July 12, 2003


It's fly away day at our house, or close to it. Our second batch of swallow nestlings are crowding each other out and their parents are now making it pretty clear it's time for them to get gone.

Adult swallows are much less subtle than human parents. We tend to be more gentle in coaxing kids to spread their wings, maybe we're more fearful of our children learning to live. The swallows don't mess around. They dive bomb the babies in the nest to drive home their point. Today it's a constant swirl of squawking as the parents conduct "fly-by beratings" of their offspring.

The game plan apparently is to annoy the baby birds to the point where they become suicidal. Thinking they'll at least no longer have to listen to their parents harping, the birds leap from the nest assuming they're going to plunge to their deaths, only to be surprised when they catch flight.

The wonders of nature.