Saturday, February 9, 2008
One of the first signs of spring is the return of tree swallows to the Tennessee Valley. My friend Ted Bays loves watching their aerobatics. It’s lively. He and his wife Geniece have over 30 bluebird boxes in the fields around their home on the French Board River. Tree swallows are called such because they nest in hollow trees but they will readily use these boxes instead, in fact, Ted gets more nesting swallows than bluebirds. Historically, they didn’t nest in East Tennessee and have only been doing so since the late 1960s. There’s an ebb and flowing to nature and these metallic blue swallows are expanding their range, flowing into our valley. Their population here has been growing ever since. Ted reports that he saw three or four swallows flying around yesterday, February 8. This is their earliest return since he started keeping track of their comings and goings. Can spring be far behind?