Swallows Building Nest, Raising A Family

Brief Directions

Nikon D60 camera with Nikon 18-200 mm lens, handheld, available light. Camera in P-Mode.


The nest was basically complete within 7 days. Using a mirror on a pole, we could see eggs on Day 11. Nineteen days later, the couple became very active, indicating the eggs had hatched. The pix are renumbered from that point. Little beaks were visible above the nest rim on Day 3. The parents fed the chicks whole insects, poking them down the gullets without "processing." Eventually we could see there were 5 chicks. The rate of growth was astonishing; the chicks are virtually as large as the parents by Day 12. The chicks poop over the side, as seen on Day 19, thus avoiding soiling the nest. They begin to beat their wings vigorously while clinging tightly to the nest rim. On Day 20 they began leaving the nest for hours at a time, returning at night to perch and sleep. The night of Day 27 was their last on the nest; the nest morning they left and we didn't see them again. Next to the astonishing growth rate, the most impressive thing was the precision with which both the young and the parents executed every step, obviously knowing exactly what to do, when, and how.


In mid-May, two barn swallows began building a nest attached to an iron plant hanger just outside our front door, under the roof of our front porch. Standing on a stepladder inside the door, I could take photos from 4 feet away through the window over the door.

Date Added
September 21, 2013
Date Taken
September 21, 2013