Friday, August 01, 2008

The Pesky Swallow

Back in 2002 during the infamous Hayman Fire, one of its effects was to cause the swallow migration to veer further east than usual. At the time, I had a stucco house that was very appealing to the major pest known as the cliff swallow. Now, I love birds, but I despise these delta-winged little bastards. It was like a scene from Alfred Hitchcock's movie, The Birds, as all of a sudden, hundreds of chattering, squealling, crapping swallows descended upon my house, constructing their gourd-shaped mud nests under the eaves. Once there are eggs in these nests, you cannot legally take them down. Apparently, some old migratory bird protection act gives these nasty creatures the right to destroy human homes and property. Let me tell you, there was no shortage of them. It was a constant battle with high pressure water nozzles to keep them from completing their nests. I finally had netting placed under the eaves of the roof to keep them from building. To make matters worse, if they hatch there, they will return the next year as the next generation builds nests. I had recurring nightmares of them and there awful chattering sound.

Now, I don't have stucco, and so far, so good for several years. But the parking garage at my office attracts these horrible creatures, and they love to dive bomb you as you go to your car. In groups, they make a rattling, chittering sound intermittently between their song. However, yesterday I managed to avoid getting dive bombed, got in the car, rolled down the window, and recorded the song of one of these birds. Annoying as it is, at least it isn't the sound I had nightmares about.

CLICK HERE to hear the swallow's song as I recorded it yesterday.

Fat Robins Cooling Off

Here we are, in the midst of record breaking heat. So far in the Denver area, we have broken a record for consecutive days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit that has stood since 1901. Yesterday, we hit 101, and today is projected to reach 104. It is to get above 100 all the way from El Paso, Texas to Billings, Montana. Phoenix is to reach 114 today!

So with heat like that, even the red, red robins need a cooldown splash to get bobbin' along. This morning as I was leaving for work, I noticed a trio of these cute birds enjoying the water in my birdbath. That splashing around doesn't look like a half bad idea!