Monday 2 July 2018

A Little Lodger - Part Two

One and a half weeks ago my son brought home a little swallow he had found unharmed but dehydrated on the concrete ground in front of our apartment building.

Swallows have been nesting at our house for several years now, which is great as their number has halved in Austria during the last twenty years or so. Now they are coming back, founding new nesting colonies. For me their return after the winter always is something very special that makes me happy. I have been used to having swallows around in summer since I can remember (having spent almost all my summer holidays on a farm in the Austrian lake district, where swallows have their nests in the cow barns and around the farm houses). For me summer and swallows just belong together.

Well, this little fellow had fallen out of its nest obviously - maybe it was an accident, maybe it happened when it first tried to spread its wings and fly. As it was one of the hottest days of the year so far, it was very weak due to dehydration.

We fed it water with dextrose which helped immediately. Then my son went out hunting for insects - grasshoppers mainly (as we had read in the internet were the best food for swallows). As he only managed to catch six grasshoppers in about forty minutes, we switched to buying house crickets in the pet shop, which we deep-froze and brewed on demand. Our little guest was very hungry! I guess it ate about twenty crickets per day!

We put it in a plastic container...a small one during the day (so it could climb the edge and have a look around or get its food), a larger one during the night.

My son had it sit on his shoulder most of the time (where it learned all about Hearthstone and Overwatch), so it could train and spread its wings (which it did quite often), but it felt especially cosy and safe in the hood of my son's hoodie shirt ;)

When it started to flutter really hard, we took it out into our large living room with the open kitchen...just in case it decided to fly around....

....which it finally did on Saturday evening. So we took it out on Sunday morning, so it could join the flock again.

It needed some minutes, watching the other swallows do their acrobatic flight manoeuvres, but then it gave a little call, fluttered, spread its wings...and flew with the others as if it had always been doing nothing else than that.

I went out several times that day, just in case it had returned or not found a nest for the night, but everything was okay as no swallow was left out in the cold after the sun had set. (I admit it wasn't easy for me to let go ;). It's heartwarming though, knowing that one of these cute little agile acrobats is "our" little lodger, when watching them now do their helter-skelter rounds in our courtyard and around the building. 

As the swallows' nests are quite close to our flat, I wake up to the sound of their calls. I will miss them (even more this year) when they will be gone - heading south to warmer countries. 


  1. What a sweet story. Swallows are one of my favorite birds. You and your son did a fabulous job of restoring it to health enough for it to join its winged family. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Oh my goodness Claudia! I am sure it was hard on both you and your son to let your little lodger take flight! I would have been bawling my eyes out! LOL
    Ahh you bought crickets! I was wondering how you managed to get so many! heehee
    Thanks so much for sharing this little life journey,it was heartwarming indeed. And I like to learnabout my blog friends!
    sending hugs to you,Jackie xx


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