by Peter Crowter
An early April morning and winter has lost its grip,
A single bird upon the wire has made its epic trip.
They try to tell us one of you a summer doesn’t make
But I think your arrival is springtime’s biggest break.
You sit there resting all alone but not for very long,
For soon you’re joined by others and you greet them with your song.
You twitter to each other telling tales about your flight,
But some old friends are missing and you ponder on their plight.
Winter’s fun in Africa, there’s many thoughts to share ,
But now you’re back in England there’s no time to sit and stare.
You didn’t travel all this way to sit around and yarn,
And soon you leave your lofty perch and swoop into the barn.
You hover ‘neath the rafters to choose a spot that’s best,
A site to suit your partner, to stick your muddy nest.
You fly out to collect her and take her in to see,
The spot you’ve chosen for her home, and hope she will agree.
We next see swallows on the ground, we rarely see them there,
They’re at their best when on the wing so this is pretty rare.
They’re scooping mud from round the mucky puddles in the lane,
There’s plenty round the potholes where the water doesn’t drain.
The pair both work in unison to build their clever nest,
From lane to barn they ferry mud it seems they never rest.
Cemented on the rafter, the cup begins to grow,
To and fro they fly all day they’re always on the go.
Next the cup is furnished with a cosy feather bed,
Ready for the fragile eggs all white and speckled red.
And when she’s laid just 4 or 5 mum swallow then sits tight,
And hubby brings her tit-bits while she sits there day and night.
In 2 weeks time the babies hatch and then it is all go
And all day long we see the parents flitting to and fro
A full time job for both of them to feed their hungry brood
With gaping beaks and hopeful squeaks forever wanting food.
A café for the swallows is a pond or p’raps a lake
And insects from it’s surface, they delicately take
It’s somewhere they can guarantee to find a tasty snack
After dining out themselves, to babies take some back
When 3 weeks old the babies learn to fly and leave the nest,
And you would think it’s time for mum and dad to take a rest.
But mum and dad are in the mood they haven’t finished yet,
They’re dedicated parents, an industrious duet..
They tidy up the nest a bit and off they go again,
Another lot of eggs to hatch and chicks to entertain.
And if the pair are dedicated to domestic bliss,
For them a third young family just may not go amiss.
On balmy summer evenings when most of their work is done,
The swallows get together for a party and some fun.
High in the sky you see them fly like dancers on the wing,
They circle round each other in a sort of high-sky fling.
Now all young birds have flown the nest for autumn’s drawing near,
The air is getting cooler now because September’s here.
The swallows gather on the wires like clothes pegs on a line,
We know they soon will disappear, for Africa they pine.
Then one October morning, we sense there’s something wrong,
No more swallows gossipping, just robin’s plaintive song.
The barn is quiet and empty, our friends have flown away,
We know that we’ll not see them till a future April day.