This evening as we were out driving around, we happened upon these tree swallows mating. Luckily for me, they seemed too focused on their romance to mind my snapping. The female will now fly off and build her nest, with the male helping to collect feathers for it. She will lay between four and seven eggs, which should hatch about two weeks later. Both the male and female will take care of the young till they leave the nest. And it is true about the swallows returning to Capistrano every year! Pat Boone even sings a song about it, which you can find on YouTube. Every year, the swallows leave their wintering spot in Argentina and fly 6,ooo miles away, to a mission in San Juan, California. They always arrive on or very near March 19, to the ringing of the church bells, visitors from all over the world, a parade, and many other festivities. They always return to the same eaves at the mission. Legend has it that many years ago, the swallows took refuge in the mission from a mean innkeeper who destroyed their nests. So they return every spring knowing they will be protected. And in fact, the city has passed an ordinance making it illegal to destroy their nests. Smart birds, nesting in a place near the altar of God.
"Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young-a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you." Psalm 84:3,4