Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Watching nature at work
You can barely see or make out the tail of the female tree swallow that is busy laying eggs or sitting - I'm not sure which. It's the blackish more solid piece sticking up on the left side of the photograph, partially covered by a lovely soft looking beige feather.
I was unable to count the number of eggs in this nest box that day. She wouldn't leave.
I understand that swallows and bluebirds lay one egg a day until all are laid, and then begin sitting for about 14 days, I think. To learn about how tree swallows incubate their eggs and about this miraculous process I went to http://www.treeswallowprojects.com/cincubat.html - you might enjoy it as well.
What amazes me is the intricate weaving of bits of grass, pine needles feathers and what have you that you can see so clearly here in this photograph. That was a lucky shot for me. These eggs in the photograph are much larger than actual size... which is about half the size pictured here.
Here too there are more feathers to help keep the eggs warm when mother sits down to brood.
In any case about two weeks ago while walking, I saw eleven swallows on a telephone wire where before there had been only two or three... the youngsters tails weren't completely developed and the slight v shape wasn't visible. They weren't quite as big as the adults, but what a treat to watch them as they whirled away, swooping and diving, then quickly returning to the wire. It strikes me as so amazing that these little creatures can fly so quickly, are so adept, and develop such strength and endurance for their long flight south. That will come all too soon.
In the meantime I enjoy the aerial demonstrations every day as they learn and grow. A simply amazing gift - all from nature.