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May 8th 2010    Tim Candler

    Those dreams of empire which have resulted in an expansion of Vegetable Garden territory have been good for Bluebirds, but not for Tree Swallows.    Bluebirds already have their nestlings to care for in Bluebird boxes.  In other years those same Bluebird Boxes would contain the young of Tree Swallows before they contained the young of Bluebirds.  

     My shiny new fence has effected flight patterns.   Bluebirds can stump around and are content to hop.  Tree Swallows need the long swoop in their approach for a successful landing, because Tree Swallows have tiny feet.  

    True to say that I am sad for Tree Swallows.   I saw three of them in early  April, and I looked forward to their visit.  Now they are elsewhere I hope, and I will miss their dance with the white feather.  I will miss their discussions on the electric line.  I will miss the knowledge of them near to me, nesting happily.  As well I sometimes wonder what goes on in their winter home.  I can quickly imagine their winter home decimated by another's fences.  I see poison.   I can blame others.   And then I see my own fence.

    This year too there are fewer Barn Swallows, which I think has made a Phoebe happy, though it is hard to tell because Phoebe are sneaky.    But barn Swallows are fiercer than I remember them.  I have seen them chasing Crows with an anger that suggests a past injustice, or maybe they have learned from Kingbirds.   And again I wonder how the Barn Swallow winter was amongst the Guava fly and Banana groves and all those acres so many take their living from.

    But as patchy frost keeps pointing out, it is early.  

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