Knowledge is Power

I can always count on my blogging friends to solve mysteries for me, and it’s happened yet again.

When I admitted ignorance over the birds swooping at my son’s head every time he entered or exited his new home in the Land-of-the-North, I really was hoping somebody would help.

We all get so used to Googling things we don’t know. Who even owns a set of encyclopedias any more?

Why, the last time I was at Catholic Charities dropping off clothing, shoes, and other items, I ran into an older man toting a HUGE box.

Filled with books.

Encyclopedias, to be exact.

“Sad that nobody uses these any more, isn’t it?” he commented.

Yes, it is.

But I digress.

My son Domer moved into his apartment last July — after some “mysterious” birds had built a nest over his front door.

The nest was empty, but the birds regularly made fly-bys at his head whenever they saw him.

This year, we figured if we knew what species we were dealing with, we might be able to do something to prevent an attack.

But how do you identify something like a bird when you don’t know its name?

Enter my friend Terri, who casually suggested Domer might be seeing SWALLOWS.

Hmm, I thought, reaching for my laptop and keying in Google.

The pictures looked reasonable enough, but still I didn’t know.

So I sent Domer a text, telling him what I’d been told.

His answer? An ecstatic “Oh yeah! That’s them!”

Mystery solved — Thanks, Terri!

25 thoughts on “Knowledge is Power

  1. Bravo Teri! How very clever of you. Swallows are amazing swoopers. And very persistent (as Domer discovered) Encyclopedias I miss them about as much as I do library card catalogs.

    • Domer can attest to their swooping talents! The thing is, if they don’t want people around their nests, why do they insist on building them where people live?? I do kind of miss encyclopedias. Card catalogs? Not so much, ha!

    • Not really “vicious,” Professor. More like territorial. And protective. Still, you’d think they could find better places to build their homes than right over Domer’s front door!

  2. You GO, Terri!

    Debbie, I think it’s great that the mystery was solved on what type of bird they were. I actually Googled “swallows” before leaving this comment because I had no idea what they looked like.

    Isn’t it amazing how that not only encyclopedias have become extinct, but also dictionaries? I used to have a dictionary on my desk at all times to look up words, yet now with online Googling, I no longer use it. In fact, I find that even as I begin to type in a word, Google already knows what word I want. It’s kind of creepy!

    Have a terrific Tuesday, my friend!

    • I still have a dictionary, Ron, but it’s so much faster to go online — shoot, I’m online anyway, ha! And yes, isn’t it cool how Google can “read our minds”? Well, maybe not cool exactly; more like creepy — you’re right!

      I had to see pictures of the swallows, too. We don’t have them (to my knowledge) in downstate Illinois. As Domer said, They’re kind of cute — when they’re not flying straight at your head!!

      Thanks for taking time to read, Ron, and have a wonderful Tuesday!

    • Part of me feels sorry for olden-day writers, Kim. They actually had to spend time looking stuff up in libraries and such. We’re so fortunate to be able to find out what we need to know RIGHT NOW, via the Internet. And we never have to take off our bunny slippers, heehee!! Love you more than a fuzzy puppy 😉

    • I’m so grateful Terri was able to figure it out. She was just guessing, of course, because I didn’t have any photos to go by. But what an awesome thing, finally having the answer to this mystery!

    • I surely wouldn’t have. Nor would Domer. We just don’t have any familiarity with Swallows. But I’m relieved to know he’s not dealing with vultures, ha!

    • Terri, Thank YOU!! Just putting a name to Domer’s squatters helps more than you can know. Research shows their range is clear down through Illinois, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any here. Identification was easy-peasy once we had a name to Google!!

  3. I’m glad the mystery is solved… now he just has to duck until the babies fly from the nest! I looked up swallows online and they are pretty birds (I guess maybe not so much when they are trying to attack you though!)

    • That’s exactly what Domer said, Janna, ha! I went on a website about them and listened to their calls (which are quite pretty, all things considered). I guess some people even *try* to attract them to their yards because they eat insects. To each his own, right?!

  4. Ah, Debbie, you took me back to my elementary school days pouring over the set of blue World Book encyclopedias we had. They were considered so special that they were kept in my dad’s office and had to be used on his desk (no food or drink allowed). My parents invested $100 in the set, and I remember this was a big deal for them back in the day. I remember them fondly, and cried a little when they were given away.

    • I share a similar memory, Jann. Encyclopedias were so expensive at the time, but my folks, too, knew they would help us kids with our education. And they certainly did! I still remember poring over the colored photos of dogs and longing for one with a LOT of fur — and just look at Dallas’s coat!! While it’s easier (and cheaper) to do online browsing now, I find it sad not to have the actual books in hand. Glad I was able to strike a chord for you!

  5. Oh, you’re surrounded by swallows. Here’s another good link. They aren’t at all aggressive, but they fly fast, and trips back and forth to the nest can be pretty frequent. They’re called barn swallows because they just adore building their nests around structures — like Domer’s house!

    They’re all over the marinas right now. They build their nests under the edge of the floating docks – it’s amazing to see them cruise in to feed the babies, only a few inches above the water. Once the babies have fledged, they’re cute beyond words. They sit on the lifelines or other lines around the boats and wait to be fed. They always spot mom and dad before I do. You can tell they’re about to get a treat because they start chattering and flapping their little wings, saying, “Me first! Me first!”

    By the way, and speaking of knowledge being power — my shoes still are tied. I even went so far as to pull a brand new pair out of the closet, with stiff rawhide laces. It worked for them, too. Thanks!

    • Thanks for the link, Linda. I loved listening to their calls, and I can just see those baby birds jumping up and down, shouting, “Me first!”
      Now that Domer knows what his squatters are, he can appreciate their presence — and steer far away from their nest. Even he said the pictures of these swallows are rather cute, though I doubt he’ll get close enough to take photos for himself. It’s nice to know they’re really not being aggressive, just protective of their young (as all good parents should be!)
      Your laces are still tied?? Awesome! Thank you for letting me know. For those interested in the RIGHT WAY to tie shoelaces so they’ll stay tied, here’s the link, thanks to Katybeth ( —

  6. Oh, Debbie, poor Domer! I hope the birds are under control! Reading your post I remembered the frightening film, “The Birds.” I still get the heebie jeebies when I think of it! I hope the baby birds fly the coop soon! 🙂

    • Thanks for sympathizing, Bella. I’ve learned the incubation period runs from 11-20 days and the nesting period from 15-25 days, meaning these squatters are going to be hanging around a LONG time! On top of that, they can have 1-2 broods per season — yikes. In short, Domer is going to be putting up with them most of the summer. Oh, well, at least it’s not snakes or rats, ha!!

  7. Looks like the blogosphere will be replacing Wikipedia. The next time I have a problem, I will blog about and get advice from my readers. Right now there is some kind of bird pecking at our new grass seed.

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