Organic Pest Control
My grandmother told me that barn swallows are a sign of good fortune for a farm. It is not hard to understand the origins of that "farmer wisdom". After all, lots of barn yard animal creates lots of manure, which in turn attracts flies, which makes good hunting grounds for swallows. We have 17 swallows nests in the barn and under the eaves of the house. Come spring the barn will be afluttering and atwittering. We are quite grateful to them. They eat their own weight in insects each day. At about 10 grams each that makes hundreds of insect a day. They are big eaters to sustain their energy expenditures. While flittering about they can fly hundreds of miles a day dashing back and forth in and out of the barn. I love listening to their "zwitschern" - a german, very onomatopoeic term for their song.
While they seem mostly very, very busy they do take time out to perch on the telephone wires. In May and June there might be one or two sitting on the wire with wide gaps between. I like to think of it as the story of summer- by the time all the gaps between them are filled in and they sit in solid lines of hundreds, summer is ending and overnight they are gone. We took this picture of the last two little ones late in the summer - by the next morning they had flown away. I hope they made it to Baja or such. We will welcome them back in March!