Welcome Swallows

Welcome Swallow

Welcome Swallow

Yesterday afternoon we were sitting in the lovely spring sunshine on our front verandah. We were enjoying the beautiful day while having a cuppa. As we sat there two Welcome Swallows flew in under the verandah and just over our heads. This was a delightful little event that thrilled us, mainly because they came so close – perhaps a metre or less over our heads.

I’ve seen Welcome Swallows do this kind of thing in many other places, but this is the first time we’ve seen it on our verandah. In fact, we do not see this species all that often over our garden. This is strange, because the species is very common in our immediate district. At times I have seen loose flocks of several hundred near or over the nearby river. At other times I have seen 50 – 100 resting on nearby power lines. For some reason they do not want to visit our place.

I know that they make a mess when they make their mud nest under a verandah or the eaves of a house, but it would be lovely if they thought our place was a suitable nesting site. I’d probably even be happy to clean up the mess they made.


63 Responses to “Welcome Swallows”

  1. Alan says:

    They obviously feel ‘welcome’.

  2. Trevor says:

    Good one Alan – thought you might be a little more creative than that!

    You are welcome to make any further suggestions, of course.

    Well – come on – I’m waiting!

    I guess we’ll come to other suggestions soon.

    Any more of these and it will be too hard to swallow.

  3. mick says:

    My experience with swallows and their nests is that once you get one you also get a dozen more – then that’s a bit different to clean up I assure you!

  4. Trevor says:

    Mmmm…. perhaps I was a bit hasty in my thinking. Thanks Mick for the warning.

  5. Arija says:

    Easily fixed, get a few cows, they’ll attract flies, flies attract swallows, problem solvered!
    No problem cleaning up after nesting swallows, I saw this in Germany, with all their spit and polish there are some birdlovers there who don’t knock down the nest but just place a cut down cardboard box below. Can be used for the garden after nesting. All clean and tidy!

  6. Trevor says:

    Such an easy solution Arija – why didn’t I think of it? Cows – lovely creatures. They might even attract a few Cattle Egrets, various Ibis and such like. Worth thinking about. And I do have a spare acre of land where they could graze.

  7. Heather says:

    I too am lucky to have swallows visiting my verandah. It can be amusing watching them fighting over who has the right to sit and who doesn’t. I also hve a large shed with a sliding door that I always leave ajar for a certain pair who nest there each year. I love the day when I go in and a greeted by the babies testing out their wings for the first time before they desert their nest.

    I don’t mind the mess but then I have never been houseproud! Can’t stand anyone else’s mess, but my own and that of my pets and ponies and wildlife is just FOYNE! hehe

  8. Trevor says:

    You are a true bird lover Heather. Well done you. Our garage has a lift up door so it’s either open or closed. We keep it closed and locked because of all the valuable tools in it. Hence the swallows don’t find it. Mind you – with the mess inside – I can’t find anything either. Another reason to keep it closed.

    I understand what you are saying about being house proud. We maintain a similar attitude. Those who deem it suitable come to visit US – NOT our house. At present, for example, my wife has taken over the sun room with potting mix, pots and all kinds of propagation type stuff – she runs a native plant nursery.

  9. kasia says:

    We’ve had a pair nesting in my father’s workshop for as long as I can remember.
    Dad even cut out a piece from the wall above the back door
    so they can fly in and out at all times, and he also
    placed a piece of thin particle board (or something like it) to catch all their guano. 🙂
    They’re currently re-using one of the first nests they built in the workshop because the one they’ve been using for the last 8-10 years is too high now…..
    ..as they’ve kept renovating and adding more mud, it’s grown too close to the ceiling and they can’t fit themselves in it anymore.
    I remember a girl telling me she hated them nesting
    under her verandah because of the pooh problem so she
    got up on the ladder, got the babies out and fed them
    to her cat one by one! 🙁 I was horrified and thought
    very differently about the girl from that day on…..I don’t understand that kind of behaviour at all.
    Welcome Swallows are more than welcome at our place that’s for sure and we’re pleased they know it.

  10. Trevor says:

    Ah – so bird loving runs in your family too. Good on yer Dad.

    About that “girl” – what a terrible thing to do! It’s the equivalent of taking all her children and feeding them to the lions at the zoo – just because they sometimes make a little mess!

  11. kasia says:

    Yes well, ‘that girl’ ….I suggested to her that she could have allowed them the one lot of babies then
    knocked the nest down after they’d fledged..but too late.

    My whole family are nature lovers Trevor. Those Swallows
    in dad’s workshop go about their business while
    dad potters around doing his thing, no problems at all.

    My parents home has really large windows facing north
    into the garden and unfortunately various birds find themselves flying straight into them throughout the year.

    Honey Eaters mostly, the occasional noisy, oh so noisy
    Lorikeet, yellow rumped thornbills and every so often a sparrow (rarely though, cos those little buggers are too smart for their own good!) In fact they usually hit the window, hit the ground then fly straight off into a shrub…no damage done! 🙂
    If any of us happen to be home when this happens we rush out, pick the bird up and if they’re still
    breathing take them inside, run the tap gently for them
    so they can have a drink (they always do) then take them
    back outside and either hold them till they come too properly or put them in a tree or shrub if they’re not
    too wonky on their legs…
    Dad’s one of the first to rush out and rescue them and he’s the one who discovered that giving them
    a drink brings them out of their unconscious shocked state! 🙂 Dear old dadsee, gotta love a man who
    does that kind of thing.

  12. Trevor says:

    Yes we get the occasional thump on one or other of the windows. I usually race outside to do the rescue bit, but often the bird has already flown off.

    On one memorable occasion it was a New Holland Honeyeater. It was stunned but not out cold. I picked it up and put it on a bench outside and took several good photos. I left it there to recover; a few minutes later it flew off again.

    Here is the story and photos:


  13. tammy says:

    Hi Trevor,

    Lovely to talk to you again! I have recently received 4 young nestling swallows that I am raising because a guy who owns a tyre place knocked down the nest because of their mess on the concrete! They all in good health, feeding every 15 – 20mins through out the day.

    I raise a lot of these in summer with my wildlife group – usually because members of public hate their mess! if only they would have a little patience!

    Tammy ( remember me I talked to you about Magpies)

  14. Trevor says:

    Welcome back Tammy. Pleased that you stopped by again and left another comment.

    Those little birds must keep you busy all day! I guess they really let you know when they want another feed too! Must get a little noisy.

  15. tammy says:

    Yes They do and yes they are when you are raising large groups ! Last year I raised 11 all up of these dear little birds. They are hard work, lucky I only have to feed them during the day.

    The cardboard box idea is good to use – I recommend it. Swallows fledge in 21 days so if people could wait that long the babies would be safe to fly off. Every year we get in heaps of babies because people knock their nests down – most of the babies are saved because we manage to talk the people into leaving them for a little longer.

    Trevor I like reading everything on your page – keep it up! Tammy

  16. Trevor says:

    Thanks for the encouraging comments Tammy. I really enjoy sharing my birding experiences in this way. I also enjoy people leaving comments about what I have written.

  17. tammy says:

    Good for you!

  18. Jamie says:

    Hi Trevor, Tammy, and all

    I am also a Wildlife carer in central vic, I think Tammy may already know me through wildlife vic if its the same one lol!

    If so Hi Tammy! 🙂

    Just thought I’d tell you about the 4 Swallows I’ve helped so far this season. I’ve only been a licensed carer for about 6 weeks so still learing alot as I go but have been involved with w/v for almost a yr.

    The first 3 that came in, we due to an owl flying into my window and knocking a nest down. Luckily I kept the babies over night and in the morning tried to but them back into the nest – they jumped stright back out and flew dodgily off – S##T I thought, until within about 3s later when both parents arrived from nowhere in the sky and called them to join them.

    They have been back with mum and dad and another adult who always hangs with them maybe last years young? for about a week now and occasionally mum or dad will fly and leave the group will fly really low and close over or around me as saying ‘Thanks’ – This is the only reason I can think off as before they were always very skittish and avoided people.

    The 4th one has just come in – it had netting caught around its wing which had prevented the opening of its wing. All healing and i’m performing gentle physio on the wing at every 2nd feed to see if he can regain use of it over the next few weeks before the adults start to leave.

    Will keep you updated if you like.

    Cheers Jamie

  19. Trevor says:

    Welcome to my bird blog Jamie. Thanks also for taking the time to leave your comments, and to relate your experiences with birds. By all means keep us updated on these birds – and any others. You can scan down the Categories on the sidebar to comment on other species.

  20. Meryl says:

    Hi Trevor and anyone who can assist with this query.

    We live in Central Victoria (Cobaw Ranges) and have had a pair of swallows nesting right under our verandah, next to our bedroom window for the past five seasons – wonderful when the babies come. However, this year they have done something a little different. They have built three more nests. One under our covered pergola out the back, one next to our huge stone fireplace (near the front door) and one above a light fitting between the garage doors (again, near the front door). They don’t seem to know when to stop building! Personally, I tell my husband they want the townhouse, country house, beach house and mountain house – but that’s ’cause I just have an active imagination! Can anyone tell me if they have had something similar happen? We have been here 5.5 years and this is the first time we have had multiple nests. We only see the one pair although we know there are quite a few around. All suggestions gratefully received.

    Thanks, Meryl

  21. Trevor says:

    Hi there Meryl, thanks for stopping by and relating your experiences. It is really delightful to have wild birds in such close company with us as we go about our everyday lives.

    I have not heard of seen Welcome Swallows nesting in this way – but then, it may well have happened elsewhere. Perhaps they cannot get insurance cover and are building extra nests just in case (sorry – you started it! LOL)

    Another of our swallows, the Fairy Martin often nests communally with several through to dozens of bottle shaped mud nests in the one location.

    In your situation it appears to be only one pair – strange behaviour.

  22. Nadia says:

    I live in a big apartment complex in city of Sydney.Have been watching two swallows over the months building and nest against the wall above the lift.Came home 2 days ago and found the nest on the ground,pushed into a corner near the lift.The Mum and Dad were flying about but the constant stream of people entering and exiting the lift was disturbing.I carefully slid a dustpan under the nest and put it in a tray with sides on it.I them brought it up to my apartment which was close to there nest.I then put the tray with the nest in the alcove of my front door,suppounded it with cardboard box with room for parents to fly in and out.There are 3 live chicks.. not yetflying,so I would say fledgings.The parents have been there and when I tried to drop some water with a tiny syringe into their mouths this morning… Mum swooped in.I have left a dish with water and another with taosted bread crumbs.I have no idea what to do to help,except let Mum take care of them.I know she is around,as when I open the front door carefully,she flys out.I am a person who will rescue anything(mainly people,as I am a theatre scrub niurse)… this is the first lot of chicks in a nest.Should I be doing anything else??? I just love having them on ,my doorstep(the door is recessed so there is protection)I want then to survive .I saw one stretch its tiny wings this morning.
    Please give me suggestions.I live in Leichhardt.

  23. Trevor says:

    Hi there Nadia – welcome to my bird blog. Thanks for stopping by and telling us about your encounters with birds. I think you’ve done everything you can to help these birds. Their parents are the best ones to look after them, after all.

  24. Nadia says:

    Thank you Trevor,
    I am very happy… they are moving about now and Mum is ever watchful.. I have changed their water,added more bread crumbs,plus boiled an egg and crushed it finely and put that on the bread crumb dish.Mum took a few swoops at me but then settled on the railing checking me out ,while I changed their feeds…. I love them so much.I have taken some pictures of them but dont know if I can post them here.I live alone(happily) and have been housebound after a car accident for some long periods over the past year,so this has really cheered me up!!
    How long do think it will be before they start to fly?.. they have feathers but are only just moving around.

  25. Trevor says:

    It should be about 2 -3 weeks before they fly off. Probably 3 weeks after they hatch, so if they already have some feathers they are well on the way.

  26. Marie says:

    Can someone please tell me what bird would destroy the nest of the Welcome Swallows. We have a nesting box in a Gazebo and last year the swallows raised 4 chicks. This year they hatched 3 eggs but sadly something killed the chicks in the nest and one adult bird disappeared. Another pair have just laid 3 eggs in the nest and we came home to find the eggs had been tossed out of the nest onto the floor. They had not been eaten. The little swallows are still in the area, but we don’t know what to do to make the nesting box safer for them. Any ideas? Also for future reference, can someone please tell me what and how to feed orphaned chicks just in case we are able to save a chick in the future.

  27. Nadia says:

    Hi Marie,
    I rescued a fallen nest about a month ago.Chicks had hatched and Mum and Dad were still around.The nest had been shoved in a corner near the entrance to a lift.I took the nest up to my landing and the parents had no difficulty finding them as it was not far from the original site.My front doorway is quite protected,so I just surrounded the nest(which I had placed on a large base platter,with cardoard box.It was well sheltered and room for Mum and Dad to get in.I did not hand feed them but had 3 shallow dishes.One with fresh water each day,one with both toasted bread crumbs and small pieces of fresh bread,another with hard boiled egg,which I would squash up.They seemed to feed on all of those and also loved cake.. such as maderia.. all crunbed up.
    3 chicks.. one did perish quite early but the other two survived.
    Trevor,if you read this.. I loved every moment of having them.At first the parents would swoop when I went to change the feeds but very soon came to trust me and would greet me everyday,espically if I had been out and just coming home.They would chirp and swoop as I walked up the path.Then they would sit on the railing outside my door and have a chat with me!One morning ,I still had not ventured outdoors and they were making so much noise… when I opened the door I found that the box I surrounded the nest with had been blown by a strong wind making it impossible for them to get to the nest… so I fixed it up.They had been calling me!..They also used to enter the nest while I stood there.. they trusted me so much.I never saw the chicks leave.. and they left about a week apart.I left the nest a couple of days,just in case they returned..then I disposed of it.The lovely thing was that Mum came back,for a couple of days after just to say hello.
    I am hoping that they come back next spring.
    Good luck Marie,hope Trevor has good advice for you… he did for me.

  28. Marie says:

    Thanks Nadia, what a lovely experience to be able to help them like that. I will certainly keep the feeding tips in mind incase we have problems next year. Thanks again.

  29. denise says:

    hi there. I am thrilled to have found your website. im a bird rescue volunteer in Tauranga, New Zealand. Ive rescued three welcome swallow chicks today but am desperate to know what kind of food to feed them? (Im used to looking after raptors: hawks and morporks etc). these chicks are have pin feathers so aren’t fully clothed yet. Two look poorly but the other looks perky. could someone pls answer asap so I can feed them the right kind of food/mixture? huge thanks for your time and expertise.

  30. Nadia says:

    Hi Denise,
    If you scroll up a couple of entries on this page you will see what I gave them.The Mum and Dad were around,so I did not need to hand feed.. but they love squashed boiled egg.. the yolk.. crumbs from the toaster and plain madiera type cake crumbed up.. also just left a dish fresh water each day.
    For the other readers who know my encounters… I still have visits from Mum and Dad,who sit on the railing outside my apartment and listen to me while I talk to them.. cocking their beautiful little heads..They dont come as often but I still leave them fresh water and litle bits of feed.!
    Good luck Denise.

  31. denise says:

    thanks heaps Nadia. I ended up giving them squashed boiled egg in a mixture of soft cat food and chicken food, doused in warm water. unfortunately I dont think they’re getting much food as their faeces have turned into a clear liquid but I did manage to get it down. I’ve decided to pass them onto a more experienced volunteer – theyre survivors of three nasty boys who smacked them out of their nest and threw them into the water! my nephew dove in and saved them all. We;re hoping to prosecute the boys! will keep you posted. thanks so much again!

  32. denise says:

    ps: I’m also a Nurse!

  33. Natalie says:

    hey guys great read about the birds but ive got a question we have swallows nesting in the engine bay of our boat, and as we live on it ive notice both parents will fly around the boat doing there business they are even coming up n resting on the rails whilst im sitting outside, but i would like to know how i can get them to trust me, i would love for them to be able to trust me come and sit on my shoulder if they so choose or allow me to have a look at there young aswell as being a wild bird sorry but its basically my first lot of baby animals that i get to watch and grow im so excited but i want to be apart of it and befriend the birds including the babies any suggestions i dont go near the birds ill sit and talk sometimes they chirp and sing to me but other times they fly off they know i walk past there nest im not sure if they mind or not but they dont seem to come near when i do go near the nest

  34. Nadia says:

    Hi Natalie,
    I am no expert on the swallows… I rescued a fallen nest last spring and kept the chicks safe outside my front door with the parents becoming more and more trusting of me.They have returned from time to time and I know they are outside, as they call me.
    They have once again begun building their nest in the same sport where it fell down last year.I leave a dish of water and some crumbled cake in another dish,outside my front door. They swoop down and greet me when I am walking to my home, or come if I call ..they sit on the railing and chat.. but I have never had them come any closer. I respect their space and am overjoyed by their visits.I will be keeping my eye on their nest, which unfortunately is once again over a residential lift,high above on the wall… I am afraid once they are sitting permentantly and their mess appears outside the lift, some one may try to remove it.That is how I found the nest and chicks last year.. stuck in a corner on the ground. I scooped up the nest and protected it with a cardboard box, which allowed the parents to still care for them, once they found where I relocated them.They would enter the box,even when I was standing close but never any closer.I think you should just enjoy the chat, respect their space and you will enjoy their visits each spring.
    So, shall see how it all pans out this spring.My parents have recently moved into the apoartment nextdoor to me and have finally observed the relationship I spoken about between the birds and I.They love it.
    I love having nature on my doorstep and I am inner city..
    You may not believe this… one of them has just come up outside my screen door and greeted me .. so went to have a little chat.!They seem to be quite talkative this morning… I am off to chat again.
    Have fun! 🙂

  35. Gayle says:

    Hi all, Great site. I went looking for the answer to what might have happened to my swallows’ nest and found this site. I have had the same swallows breeding here for some years now. They started in the extension before the walls/ceiling etc were finished; then I slowly, a few feet at a time, moved their nest outside under the balcony (first out of the main ceiling purlin and into a made up one that I placed in front of where they already were and carefully shifted their nest into it; then was able to just move the cut-off pulin). That was all fine and we got through last season without a worry, other than just one day when a butcher-bird got one of the babies. I managed to whack the butcher-bird with my jumper that I took off in a hurry; he flew away and did not come back but the baby he dropped died in my hands. Unfortunately, this season, everything seemed okay but we noticed a couple of times a smaller bird invading the nest. Our eyesight is not the best so we could not really make out what the bird was. We heard our swallows screaming and raced out to see something flying away. I even tried protecting the nest with chook-wire but it upset the swallows so I had to leave it quite open, which of course almost defeated the purpose. To cut a long story, I know they had at least one egg because I found a half shell on the decking under the nest and presumed the first had hatched. However, they then stopped going into the nest over the last couple of days and I realised something was very wrong. I have now allowed them back inside and have helped them to build a nest in one of the unplastered walls near the bathroom; I took the bottom section of their old nest and placed it in their because I knew they would otherwise take a month or so to build and we are already into the season. They appreciated the help. But my question is: What bird could have taken and destroyed whatever eggs they had their? This is obviously what happened, and they were then to scared to lay more in the same place.

  36. Annee says:

    Hi fellow birdlovers – I have just found this excellent site. I also have a question about welcome swallows. We have had a pair nesting high up under our house for the last four years. I love watching them rear their chicks each year. Unfortunately I loosened the (empty) nest last year and it fell off when I was hosing the mess off the wall underneath. I was amazed to see some of my cat’s fur incorporated into the nest with downy feathers. They rebuilt in the same place this year, I saw the female sitting on the nest for two days and then they both vanished. I don’t know whether there were eggs in the nest or not – it’s too high up to see. We do have a lot of kookaburras and butcher birds here, but would they take eggs or adult birds?

  37. Trevor says:

    Gayle and Annee,

    Eggs and nestlings can be taken by a wide range of predatory birds. The list includes kookaburras and other kingfishers, butcherbirds, magpies, crows and ravens, currawongs, cuckoos, owls and I wouldn’t be surprised if something like a starling would also. It’s wild world out there – and from a human point of view, it seems quite cruel. But these predators are only trying to stay alive or feed their own young.

  38. Gayle says:

    Thanks Trevor. Yes, you saying starlings makes me wonder. When we first moved out here there were no starlings or minahs etc. and only about three cars would pass in a day. But when the ‘suburbs’ started to follow us out, so did the suburban birds, and the cars. One of my dogs was hit and killed within six months of the estate going up across the road. He was chasing one of their dogs out of our yard and forgot to stop. I know that losing their eggs etc. is part of nature for the birds but I am selfish enough to say “go and find a mouse in the paddock or find another nest; not my pair of swallows”. Everything is fine now. They have finally got their new nest to the way they want it and have laid their eggs. And they are safe for now. Thanks again Trevor.

  39. Gayle says:

    Oh, and just like you, I am quite happy to clean up their mess.

  40. Annee says:

    Many thanks Trevor. We have all of those birds you mentioned apart from the starling. Also the new nest is built a couple of centimetres lower than the previous one – definitely would give easier access to predators. Perhaps they will return or maybe some new ones will appear next year. Yes, it’s the cycle of life. I have become so aware of it since moving from the city to the country and also taking up birdwatching! Cheers and thanks for your marvellous site.

  41. Nadia says:

    This time last year I had rescued nest with 3 chicks., that someone had knocked down because of the mess, which was high up ,outside the lift door.
    I am happy to say that this year, they built in the same spot.I have been religously and happily cleaning the mess. I also pointed it out to the daily cleaners(Big complex of apartments) and he enjoys the now chirpping from 3 chicks as he mops.They are a delight.I discovered it was management who had it removed last year. We have a busy complex,with lots of tourists,as the aparments are constructed to resmble Tuscan look with piazza filled with restaruants and shops.hence the nest being knocked down last year.Since my rescue… I have been their trusted friend and this year they have not needed my food,(just water, as I found when I was leaving the feed starlings were eating it) as the nest is safe and they are feeding the natural insects to their babies.Never the less, they come and sit on my railing for a chat every now and then. They also respond to my whistle and chirp.
    Trevor, how long before they start to fly?When I watch them being fed 3 little heads pop over the eddge with mouth open.. last year ouside my door, they did not chirp that way..one perished but 2 survived.I also did not observe such frenzied feeding last year.They have been hatched about 2 weeks now.I am so pleased that their natural habits were able to continue this year.Obviously the best way for them survive.

  42. Amy says:

    Hello, I found three little Welcome Swallows in a nest in our horse float and we left them in there but we came home it was after dark and the parents were no where to be found. I took the chicks out of the nest (thinking they were dead) but on closer inspection they were actually still JUST alive. So I put them in a box and put a light over them and about an hour later they were fine and warm again. This was about two days ago. Since then I have been feeding them some baby parrot mix mixed with warm water, they are all eating fine and seem to be doing well so far but I am afraid I am not feeding them the right food. They are a week old at most, their eyes are shut and they have no feathers, just fluff. Could someone pleaes tell me what I should be feeding them? And also could the light over them possible harm them? Like burn their skin or harm their eyes?

  43. Gayle says:

    Hello again everyone, I just had to talk to someone who understands. I have not been able to do it until now because I have been so upset. In an earlier posting I told you that I had allowed the swallows back inside to nest because their nest was being raided. Everything was going well. Five beautiful babies. They had reached the stage of following mum and dad outside, learning their skills. On just their third day outside I was surprised to see mum and dad round up the family and bring them all inside. They sat patiently for a couple of feeding sessions (mum and dad bringing in their tucker and still regurgitating). Then they grew impatient and took off outside again. Within seconds a freak southwesterly wind storm blew up like a cyclone. I knew then that mum and dad had known it was coming. The babies were not equipped to deal with it. If only I had closed the doors; the babies still were unable to cope with using the window like the parents and might have stayed inside. They are all gone. That afternoon I spent three and half hours crying and walking the paddocks looking for little bodies, and hoping to find some alive. The parents were flying around calling frantically. That was Thursday, it is now Sunday. The parents have been flying further and further, away for hours, still searching and calling. If I could just find even one little body it would help the parents accept it and move on; it’s just breaking my heart to see them still searching. Each evening, and sometimes through the day, they check the nest to see if the babies have come home. I cannot tell anyone why I am so depressed, they would not understand. I live in farming country where they don’t like the swallows. The parents and I did everything we could to keep this lot safe, yet they were all taken in one freak windstorm. So terribly sad.

  44. Nadia says:

    Gayle I am so sorry. remember though, that you have done all you could.You can’t stop nature.They will always remember your care and will nest with you again.
    Luckily this spring, my birds have survived and flown from the nest.They are now back and look as if they are nesting for the 2nd time. I had taken away my dishes (I actually dont think they fed from them.. other birds did) and now they call me once again from outside my door, taking up their usual position on the railing for a chat.
    So don’t fret Gayle, they will be back with another new family and enjoy knowing they are in your care.You can only do what is humanly possible.You cannot stop nature.
    Cheer up.

  45. Gayle says:

    Thank you for those words, Nadia. I know that these things are unfolding everywhere in nature beyond what we can see. It is such a stressful time for all the birds. I will look forward to when ‘my’ pair settle down for another try.

  46. Gayle says:

    Hello again everyone, and especially Nadia, I just had to give everyone the good news. It is hard to believe; I can’t believe it myself even though I am watching it all happen. For five days I was thinking the parents should give up the search, but they obviously know better than I do. Last night they came back with three of the five babies. How they survived five days I don’t know. The parents have been gone all day everyday for the past three of those days, so the only theory I can come up with is that they found them earlier but the babies were either too hurt and/or traumatised to fly home, so they have nurtured them back to health before the big trip. The parents came home every night though, therefore leaving the babies alone which is strange. I was on the phone to my son when the parents ushered the babies home, and he thought I had gone crazy because I just started to mumble incoherently I was so stunned. Sad about the other two, but three out of five “ain’t bad”. What a lesson! Never give up on your children.

  47. Trevor says:

    Thanks Gayle and Nadia for sharing your experiences in this way. Our birds need friends like you.

  48. Nadia says:

    Trevor: just read 47 things about you!.. Not many men like you any more!!!!
    Is there any way I can post a pic of my birds chatting to me on the railing?
    gayle: I thought I had written you telling you how happy i was to hear your good news. Looks like I haven’t!
    I was overjoyed for you!
    my birds look like they are back for a 2nd go this year!

  49. Trevor says:

    Hi Nadia,

    As this is a personal blog it’s been set up so that I’m the only one who can post photos here. In the same way I moderate all comments. It’s the only way to prevent the hundreds of spam comments that come in every day (nearly a quarter of a million in 4 years – and counting). On a few occasions I’ve had to block comments when they get too personal or inappropriate.

    You can instead send the photo via my email contact page – see the link at the top of the page. If I think it’s useful I can post it – with your permission of course. You can be named as the photographer or remain anon.

  50. Trevor says:

    Hi again Nadia,

    Your comment above reminded me to reread those 47 things about me. Many were out of date so I’ve updated many of them. For example – I’ve recently become a Grandfather! (My son and daughter in law adopted a boy from Colombia earlier this year.)

  51. Nadia says:

    That’s fantastic…congrats!!!!
    i will send you the picture of my birds sitting on my railing having a chat!
    I completely understand you having to screen.
    Ciao for now.

  52. Annee says:

    Gayle that’s a lovely postscript to your story. I’m hoping our pair return next year and start again. We’ve had a lot of rain lately and swallows are out and about again, but not nesting. The rhythm of life goes on.

  53. cath says:

    HI trevor
    can you tell me how long in take from hatching to leaving the nest.

  54. Amy says:

    Thanks for ignoring me guys. Thanks alot.

  55. Trevor says:

    Hi there Cath,

    Sorry about the delay in replying.

    I’ve been frantically busy completing my Masters Degree and haven’t had any time to answer questions here.

    Most of our smaller birds fledge (leave the nest) 2-3 weeks after hatching.

  56. Trevor says:

    Hi there Amy,

    Sorry about the delay in replying.

    I’ve been frantically busy completing my Masters Degree and haven’t had any time to answer questions here.

    I have no experience in caring for orphaned birds. You are best advised to contact your local vet clinic or wildlife carer for advice (check in the phone directory). Swallows are insect eaters and would therefore be very hard to hand feed.

    By the way – you might not get this message – your emails have been bouncing – you must remember to give a valid email address when leaving a comment.

  57. Amy says:

    Thanks trever but obviously those swallows are long gone. I have sucsessfully raised many swallows since then.

  58. kelly says:

    We’ve a nest of baby sparrows beneath our verandah. They look healthy but I am not seeing parent birds often. I checked tonight thinking the parent would be there at night but no. Is this a concern? There is no noise from the babies. They pop their heads up if we shine a torch. When should we intervene?
    Thanks, Kelly

  59. Janet says:

    Hi guys, I was very pleased to find this site as I’m quite worried about my welcome swallows. I moved into my house 3 years ago and there was a pair of swallows nesting in my garage. It was lovely to watch them raise at least 2 broods that year and now every year since there have been more and more swallows. They seemed to have a really good summer but now they are dying.
    At first I thought it was my cat as they dive bomb her and I thought she’d got lucky and caught one. It was still alive when she brought it to me so I put it somewhere quiet and safe for it to recover then released it. It flew off and seemed none the worse for its adventure. The next day however I found a dead swallow on my deck. Over the next few days I was finding more and more dead swallows, about 8 of them so far! I found a dead one in the nest yesterday.
    I’m guessing that there is some kind of disease killing them or could it be starvation…or the cold?? Out of a population of about 20 I seem to be down to 2! Should I knock their nests down while they are empty so that they will have to build nice clean new ones for next spring? I’d love to hear from anyone who knows what’s going on.

  60. Janet says:

    The silence is deafening guys…thanks a lot! Out of a population of about twenty I have 3 surviving adults and no sign of chick this year although they did build a new nest. I could have really used some advice. Won’t bother you again.

    • Trevor says:

      Sorry for the lack of response Janet. I do apologise.

      Strange things have been happening on my site in recent months. Comments are being deleted without being replied to, links are being broken unexpectedly and I have spent most of the last two days trying to fix a lot of things. Driving me crazy – because I don’t really have the time to attend to it.

      Other readers of this post may also not have seen your question – not everyone subscribes to follow up comments. There is nothing I can do about that – it is their choice.

      In response to your question – what has happened is most puzzling – and obviously distressing to you finding all those dead birds. I’m no expert in these matters but your idea that it was some sort of disease is quite feasible.

      With birds found dead on the ground I would immediately suspect cats – but they would probably have eaten them. I’m not implicating your cat – probably you have dozens of feral cats in the district.

      The same would apply to birds of prey – they would have eaten them, not left them dead on the ground. And none of this explains the bird dead in the nest, so we come back to disease.

      A remote possibility would be poisoning, but they are aerial feeders, so we can discount that idea.

      Which all leaves me still as puzzled as you.


  61. Jacqui says:

    Hi Trevor and Janet, I am having a similar problem. We are in Hobart and have been delighted to watch our 4 little chicks hatch and grow. They left the nest 4 days ago, but returned to sleep at night. The nest became too small so they were sleeping in a hole in the roof lining about half a metre from the nest. We came home today to find one of our little chicks dead on the ground and another dead in the makeshift home in the roof lining. We are devastated to see two of our little ones dead. The other two and mum and dad are still about

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