Saturday, June 13, 2009

A Sign of Summer

Though summer has already been here for a while, I think I should finish up all my photos taken during these few months. What summer has brought to the towns of southern Japan is the Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica). Just after the last cherry blossom falls, several swallows begin to appear on the sunny sky. To Japanese people, it is a sign of summer! These swallows will start collecting mud and build their nests in several weeks, and unconsciously the sky above the city will be full of these little birds swifting all around. They usually build their nests at the corner of the walls or under the roofs in front of people's houses and flats. Lucky these swallows, Japanese people are mostly kind enough not to disturb and let them raise their chicks peacefully under the same roof.

All photos in this entry were taken from the nest in front of the Hirose Supermarket, a supermarket near my dorm. This couple chose a perfect place for their nest. It was on the spotlight above the entry door. Warmth from the light can perfectly heat the eggs and inevitably seeing people everyday makes the birds so tame and easy to photograph. The male bird obviously has longer elongated tail feathers and brighter, cleaner colored than the female.

The mother is obviously duller and shorter tail.

It took about 3 weeks or so for the eggs to finally hatched, and about 2 weeks for the chicks to grow big enough to be able to see. There were 5 of them, all looked the same size, except the one that was always on the far right of the nest that looked a bit smaller than the others. During this fifth week, the chicks grew very fast and the parent birds were at their busiest time of year. Whenever one of the parents flew around or even when someone walked pass by, the chicks always suddenly begged for foods. Only one week after, all the chicks left their nest! One of them, which I supposed to be "that" smallest chick, left the nest much later than the others. The father had to flew around and call this young child all through the morning, and when I went back to check again in the afternoon, the family finally left the place. Watching all these little lives growing makes me feel so happy. Last week when I was on the bus, I found that lots of Barn Swallows are already started to flock with each other on electronic wires. I wonder how many of them are the new generation which has just born this year. The winter migration is starting now, and it will also be the first journey to the south for those new generation also!

The father got much worner comparing to the first picture.

The last chick that left the nest

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