Fellow blog-writer A.R. posted barn swallow pics the other day, so here are mine (just took them right now). Every year we have barn swallows that nest by the front door. The first year we moved here they hatched three broods of 4 chicks each, which was amazing. I don't know if the same birds come back or if it's the babies that come back, but a pair always shows up and uses the same nest (or makes a new one if the old one is falling apart). They seem to get more and more dysfunctional every year though, and I think two years ago there were no babies at all. They started putting feathers into the old nest, then built a new nest on the other side of the door, and then at night the male would be perched on the edge of one nest and the female would be perched on the edge of the other. I guess they got divorced that year.
They showed up a couple weeks later than usual this year (usually they arrive right around March 17th) and seemed to start nesting pretty late. They had a couple eggs in there but something (the stupid little house sparrows I would guess) stole the feathers that lined the swallow nest, and when they yanked the feathers out they yanked the swallow eggs out too, and I found them smashed on the sidewalk underneath. Very sad.
But they started over again. They started making a new nest, but then abandoned that and just reinforced the old one with some new mud, added new feathers, and I think there are two babies now. I thought there was just one but today I saw two (normally they have 4, I've even seen one batch of 5, which was pretty cozy!)
Oh, and they are not aggressive at all toward people, though a lot of people seem to report being dive-bombed by swallows. These ones will dive-bomb cats or other birds, but they just seem curious about people. They will flutter around but just seem watchful and interested.
It's 109 degrees, the adult bird is panting.