They’ve been back in the neighborhood since early April but defending their territory has been their priority, both from other Tree Swallows and the neighborhood thugs, the House Sparrows. At one point the fight got so fierce that one Swallow pinned another one on the ground and ignored us completely when we sat only a foot away from them. They briefly paused and looked up at us then continued fighting. The House Sparrow got the similar treatment briefly being knocked down to the ground from mid-air. The sparrows are persistence little thugs so we help the Swallows with our slingshot. We’ve never hit anyone, but it does send them packing, however briefly.
It’s interesting to see them on the ground picking up grass and other stuff when they were building the nest. We usually see them gliding gracefully in the air. Most of their act is up in the sky, courting, defending their territory and catching insects.
We’re glad they are back for a third year. I think they count us as their allies because they’re not spooked when we walk in the garden close to their house. They even perch on their roof when I’m out there clapping my hands to chase the House Sparrows for them. I wish they weren’t too territorial to share the yard with another swallow family though. I need all the help I can get catching blackflies and mosquitoes.
They take turns bringing food for their brood and house cleaning. As of this writing they are days away from seeing their young learn to glide.