Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Swallow

Thomas Aird was a Scottish poet who lived from 1802 to 1876. He wrote the following poem about swallows as they returned to his homeland after wintering in Africa. Bird migration happens all over the world. I remember staying overnight at a kibbutz in northern Israel in the spring and seeing flocks of birds resting in the pines and ponds on their migration northward. Tree Swallows are returning here in large numbers. I took pictures of this pair yesterday as they built their nest in the rain.

The Swallow

Thomas Aird

The swallow, bonny birdie, comes sharp twittering o’er the sea,
And gladly is her carol heard for the sunny days to be;
She shares not with us wintry glooms, but yet, no faithless thing,
She hunts the summer o’er the earth with wearied little wing.

The lambs like snow all nibbling go upon the ferny hills;
Light winds are in the leafy woods, and birds, and bubbling rills;
Then welcome, little swallow, by our morning lattice heard,
Because thou com’st when Nature bids bright days be thy reward!

Thine be sweet mornings with the bee that’s out for honey-dew;
And glowing be the noontide for the grass-hopper and you;
And mellow shine, o’er day’s decline, the sun to light thee home:
What can molest thy airy nest? sleep till the day-spring come!

The river blue that rushes through the valley hears thee sing,
And murmurs much beneath the touch of thy light-dipping wing.
The thunder-cloud, over us bowed, in deeper gloom is seen,
When quick reliev’d it glances to thy bosom’s silvery sheen.

The silent Power, that brought thee back with leading-strings of love
To haunts where first the summer sun fell on thee from above,
Shall bind thee more to come aye to the music of our leaves,
For here thy young, where thou hast sprung, shall glad thee in our eaves.


  1. Now, we should lay the Swallowtail Jig.

  2. That was beautiful, Ruth.

  3. Oh, I loved this, both pictures and poem! Reminds me of William Cullen Bryant's "To a Waterfowl."

  4. I long for swallows and wish to see them more often, close to home. I see them overhead now and then. They work so hard.

    Thanks for the great photos and poem, Ruth.

  5. Anonymous6:05 am GMT-4

    Beautiful! Love your photos!

  6. How sweet Ruth. Wonderful photos!

  7. Your blog is spring I never have here.
    Love it.

  8. I discover in this morning's paper that Colorado ranks #7 in number of species of birds. Some passing plover made the front page picture; more than I'll ever do! If I'm not seeing more than sparrows and robins, it's only because I'm not looking. At least I see them on your blog.

  9. I haven't seen any tree swallows here yet. Send us some!

  10. AC- You lead as the musician and dancer.

    Jean- Thanks. Glad I can borrow old poetry.

    Rondi- I looked up that poem and the style and language is quite similar.I like it very much and will save it.

    Mary- I find they seldom are still, except when busy around the nest. These ones were not the least concerned about us being near.

    Jennifer- Thanks. It was dull and rainy and the pictures are not as sharp as I wanted, but I loved their poses.

    Jayne- Thanks. It was nice to be close to such colourful birds.

    SLD- Coming from my brother, your comment is special. Much as we complain about weather, seasons are nice.

    FMDoc- A year ago I would have said the same. I am gradually learning where to find the interesting birds. I would imagine that Colorado has some great birding locations.

    Lynne- They have been here for 3 to 4 weeks now, but I only see them along the rivers. This river trail had many nesting boxes out for them.

  11. Anonymous9:49 pm GMT-4

    Love the blue colors that you captured in these guys! Great job!


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