This sunny morning, as I retrieved the papers from the driveway, I noted with delight that the violet-green swallows have returned, right on schedule. I love their chattery little calls and their swooping, arcing flight (and the fact that they eat flying insects). Their return is the real start of spring for me.
When I lived on Foote St. (about a mile east of here), the first sunny day after the start of spring was usually the day they appeared in the sky above my front yard. Where I live now, a few blocks north of Grass Lake, west of Cooper Pt. Rd., it takes them another month to show. I’ve no doubt that they arrive much earlier over Grass Lake (though I haven’t investigated this hypothesis). So, here, it’s usually the first sunny day a month after the start of spring.
My wife reported that they have already been in and out of the swallow box on the south side of the house. I cleaned it out about a month ago, as suggested by Ruth Pagel on the TCTV’s Birdwise Magazine show. We’ve had nesting in that box every year for the past five or more, ever since I found that spot for it – shaded from the sun during the heat of the day and sheltered from the rain, but on the warmer, south-facing wall with a lot of flying room around it. I had nesting five years in a row at my Foote St. house, too.