I’ll be Sittin’ When the Evenin’ Done” are the first two lines from an Otis Redding song, but it could also be the beginning of the Quadriplegic Theme song. Once I’m up and if the weather is conducive I’m out to my favorite spot alongside the garage, welcoming the early rays and heat of the summer sun. As I grow older this is truly one of the simple pleasures of life. There are, however, some ulterior purposes in my action.
Directly in front of me are the raised garden boxes in which we grow a variety of vegetables, admittedly not very exciting, but beyond them are 4 nesting boxes which welcome our southern summer residences. At least one of them contains a soon to be family of swallows. According to what I’ve read on Wikipedia swallows are monogamous and tend to return to the same nesting area each year, often to the same nest.
Normally they raise about 4 chicks. The incubation can last anywhere from 10-21 days. While the female is on the nest the male is around to feed her and defended the nest. The male from our box loves to sit on top of the nearby flag pole. I love to watch them. Their flight is fast and involves a rapid succession of turns and banks when actively chasing fast moving prey; slower prey may be caught with a slower, more leisurely flight that includes circles and bursts of flapping mixed with gliding. They seem so happy and full of life. I have decided this is primarily because of the way they fly. Once the young have hatched both male and female spend most of their day catching bugs for them to eat. When they are ready to fly the parents spend days coaxing them. Once they are all out and flying they are quickly gone.
At least 2 of the remaining 3 have wrens in them. The wrens are interesting also though not as entertaining as the swallows. The male arrives first and spends his time filling all the available nesting sites he can find with twigs, sometimes over a hundred. When the female arrives, she will select one site to build a nest cup and lay her eggs. After the first clutch gone, she may select a second box and raise another brood.
What’s my point? If one has to be confined to a chair all day, I believe, you should make the best of it. Because of my curiosity I have learned more about these birds. Enjoy what is around you. At one time we would pick a wildflower bring it home and leave it on the table until we knew what it was and then would get another. Since I’m unable to take pictures of the birds I film them and then select a frame to make a picture. Life takes on value and meaning when you spend your time wisely and appreciate the simple things life has to offer.