Swooping Swallows Offer More Lessons Than Harm

Barn swallows are interesting birds.

They are prevalent in the barn and around the ranch every summer, and then disappear, only to return the next year. Much controversy surrounds the colorful little songbirds that glide through the air with the greatest of ease.


Many horse owners condemn swallows, claiming they spread diseases. Uncertain, we haven’t had that trouble; but they can cause other irritations, and possible accidents.

Of course, their mud-based nests are constructed wherever the swallows desire. Barn rafters and walls support many at our ranch, but they don’t really bother us, because the stalls aren’t clean anyway. Certainly, their droppings are apparent, not only  in the barn, but sometimes very prevailing on horses’ backs.

Their continual swooping into and out of the barn doors is no big problem either. However, the flighty things dodging around us as we’re getting a horse out of a stall can be irritating. Worse scenario was when a swallow wanted to land on our son’s head, evidently trying to get a few strands of the blonde hair that sprouted from   under his cap.

Dozens of swallows float around in front of the barn, periodically landing in trees and on fences, only to soon be gone, and within seconds return. They’ve been known to land on a horse’s back, but generally leave before the horse becomes agitated or even
realizes it has a guest. The horses become used to them, with their coming and going.

Weighing less than an ounce, momma swallows are good to their young, bringing meals on a regular basis. Sometimes, little ones will fall out of the nests and generally succumb before we discover them. Male swallows have a brighter red chest, parade longer tail feathers and have a wingspan of over a foot.

Some days, the barn swallows will glide around nearby pastures. They’ll occasionally fly along with the horse we’re riding, continually swooping down in front of us. Certain horses don’t mind the companionship, but others will flinch every moment the birds go by. It makes us nervous, worrying that one of these times the agitation will cause more than just a twitch from our mount. We’ve known ’em to cut loose for
less reason.

Lessons can be learned from barn swallows as indicated in Job 35:11: “Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth? And makes us wiser than the birds of the heavens?”

Best way to look at the swallows is advised in Deuteronomy 28:8: “The Lord will command the blessing upon you in your barns and in all that you put your hand to, and He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you.” Further abundance is promised in Proverbs 3:10: “So your barns will be filled with plenty.”

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