Bringing up babies

My Welcome Swallows seemed to have finished nest-building and were spending time sitting on what I assumed were their eggs.

Last week I found half of a tiny white eggshell on the verandah, and I feared a furred or feathered predator had robbed the nest and eaten the contents.

Then I noticed the mother was making poking actions when she returned to the nest. Since she was no longer nestbuilding, I guessed she was feeding babies, but could see nothing.

Five days later the first baby’s head appeared above the mud rim. Well, not much head was visible beyond the pointed white beak edging a very large and constantly agape mouth, bright orange-yellow inside. I thought I could see a faint halo of grey fluff on top of the head.

An odd large feather, perhaps part of the nest lining, was sticking up confusingly, but I doubt it is attached to a baby.

Then I spotted two or perhaps three more little heads, crammed in on the far side of the nest, their pink naked throats upthrust, beaks closed. They didn’t appear to open their beaks as much as brother greedy on the right; perhaps he was first to hatch and therefore boss.

No sounds yet; no squeaking or squawking, just a silent perpetual demand.

5 thoughts on “Bringing up babies”

  1. Actually both parents are flat out looking after them one way or another; I’m taking photos as I see any change so will do another post soon. One swallow has flown inside and is on the rafter above my head as I write!

  2. Just great pictures of the little ones. I just love that little mouth that looks ten times the size of little baby birds searching out for survival. And the mother is always there for it. They will have full feathers and be gone way too soon!!
    Thanks for sharing these!!

  3. Thanks Shane; yes, I did think of those angled dentist’s mirrors on long handles, but I’d need to fix something similar up there as I couldn’t hold it and take a pic. I don’t want to go that close and spook the parents.
    I decided I’ll stand on a chair at a distance for the next shots. But I can see there are three now!

  4. Great pics. I think it sounds like you need to rig up a mirror on a stick so that you can do a count of the new generation.

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