One more youngster snuck back home in the dead of night.
Happily I discovered four of our five fletchlings decorating the fence on Thursday morning. One however, presumably the littlest one, which had been huddled deep inside the nest and only fluttered away, when I removed the dead bird, may be lost for ever.
There sure was a lot of flight school activity to observe! Take-off and landings were practiced diligently, supervised by mom, who also supplied treats for a job well done.
For a period of time, there was an additional swallow trying to interact with our flight students. Possibly the young female, who has been building a nest with her mate on another porch. I believe, this is a first year breeding pair and they may not have been successful yet. Some time ago I read that older siblings sometimes assist in caring for a subsequent clutch. And since swallows return to their breeding grounds, she may indeed be an older sister, hatched last year on our very own porch. But this year’s fletchlings were not that impressed with big sis’ feeding efforts. I watched as she offered a, presumably, tasty morsel to one of the babies, which refused to open it’s beak! In contrast, when mom does one of her fly-by feedings, those necks are craned toward her and the little beaks are as wide open as they can possibly be. I sincerely hope Madam-of-the-other-porch will be more successful with her own clutch*!
* News Bulletin: 3 new hatchlings in the second nest 🙂