Wednesday, September 23, 2009

House Guests

Most people knock these beautiful nests down because the birds, swifts, have three or four families a season and always come back to nest where they were born, hence every year more than the year before. We love to watch them build their nest and watch the little ones grow and learn to fly and then see them and their new families the next year. When they leave here they fly all the way to Africa and then back to home in early spring. It is true, they make a terrible mess on the patio, walls and the beams but we feel it is well worth the work it takes to restore the house when they have gone, just to enjoy their company while they are here. The nests are made of mud, interlaced like a basket. We have a pool were they get their water but I don’t know where they find water to make the mixture in the rest of the desert. After they move out, sparrows and other birds take advantage of the ready made homes and sometimes even decorate them. We found one with feathers, grasses, rolling papers, plus bright and shiny objects, all dangling from horse hair. It was quite a sight. The swifts sit on the telephone wires or in trees because they are not comfortable on the ground, their body weight is almost too much for them to lift off again. They catch all of their food, like flies and mosquitoes, whilst in flight and they swoop and veer like expert pilots. They have all left now so we can repaint and clean while we wait for next spring.

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