BeBe the Baby Barn Swallow

August 17, 2018

This is BeBe.

She’s a baby barn swallow and my new little love, at least for a while anyway.

I found her on the road down by our lower field on Tuesday afternoon, huddled miserably on the boiling hot asphalt.  I almost hit her with the car, expecting her to hop out of the way like most little birds.

She didn’t.  She didn’t move.

Luckily I swerved (and luckily nobody else was driving on the road) and missed her.  But I knew something wasn’t right.  So after I pulled into the driveway and unloaded Avery and Iris into the house and grabbed a dish towel from the laundry room, I headed back down to the road.

BeBe was still there, a little ball of fluff.  Still not moving away.  Panting in the heat, tar bubbles popping around her, and squeezing her eyes shut tight so that she didn’t have to acknowledge that I was there.

I scooped her up, thankful the cat hadn’t accompanied me down, thankful I came home when I did because I could see that this little bird was fading fast.  At the very least she needed water, stat.

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Too young yet to fly, she must have fallen out of her nest too soon, or been pushed out by overly vigorous siblings.  Of course my first thought was to put her back in the nest.  But.  Where was her nest?  If I found a nest, how would I know it was the right nest?  Unfortunately we weren’t in a barn.  We weren’t on a porch under a messy mud cup glued in the corner of the eaves where things would just be obvious.  We were on the road, between two fields.  There was no putting her back.

Instead, I took her home.

My ultimate goal with BeBe is just to keep her alive long enough for her to fledge and fly away.

I think it will happen quickly – already she is spending a lot more time vibrating her wings with intensity and determination, the precursor to the graceful swoops and dives of her future – and wandering the floor of the cage.

However, she’s also still very much a baby and squawks to be fed about every hour or more.

I’ve spent a lot of time catching bugs these last few days, to serve the whims of BeBe.  Because barn swallows are insectivores, and nothing but bugs (preferably freshly caught and killed) will do.  She also gets plenty of dried black soldier fly larvae soaked in water though, because one can only catch so many bugs before one gets sick and tired of it.

Isn’t she the cutest?

I can’t wait to see her arcing through the air in pursuit of insects.  Maybe she’ll return next year and build a nest on my porch and I can watch her raise her own babes.

You know I have an especially soft spot in my heart for barn swallows.


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  • Cathie/ 2018: Year of Sustainable Living

    August 17, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Hi there, Babies are always so gorgeous! We don’t have barn swallow in Australia so I had to google it to see what they look like. Very attractive little bird.

    1. lacey

      August 17, 2018 at 9:13 pm

      Thank you! They are my favorite bird – tree swallows are a close second. To see them flying is just breathtaking! I think Australia has us beat when it comes to attractive birds though, lol. Thanks for commenting!

  • The EcoFeminist

    August 19, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    Oy! The swallows have been harassing us for closing off our barn entrance and now I see this and I just melt! 🙂

    1. lacey

      August 19, 2018 at 3:42 pm

      haha! sorry! We almost bought a farm out in Gearhart 6 years ago and one of the stipulations was that we could not knock down the barn swallow nest that was in the unattached garage. I guess it had been there for 20 years. Well, the seller was kind of crazy and the house was falling down so we didn’t go with it, but I totally would have left the nest. I am told, however, by Jasper (who does not love swallows as much as me) that we won’t let any nest on our house. Darn!

  • passion fruit, paws and peonies

    August 20, 2018 at 6:21 am

    I have fallen in love with this little character and bless you for taking such great care of her. Those pictures – she is amazing! xx Maria

    1. lacey

      August 20, 2018 at 3:08 pm

      Aw, thank you! I loved her too, and my time with her was definitely over too soon 🙁

  • Daydreamer mum

    August 30, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Aaaww what a cute little thing , and such a kind thing to do. Melted my heart a bit this story!
    Congratulations!!! Someone loved this post so much they added it to the #blogcrush link up

    1. lacey

      August 30, 2018 at 2:08 pm

      Thank you so much!

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