Well,...they're back! My covered porch is evidently the very best place to have a nest if you are a pair of barn swallows (mud daubers) that have come back north from winter vacation and are looking for that quiet neighborhood to raise a family. A quiet nice covered area with a wide sweeping view in which you can see any other bird or predator that may come looking for you. A perfect location with central heat from the porch light to help keep the nest and eggs warm. The corner the swallows have chosen to build their nest catches light breezes, but is protected from the cold winds that blow in from the ocean. Oh yes, just the perfect quiet neighborhood in which to start and raise a family. Except for one small detail that they have either overlooked or have chosen to ignore...that space is already occupied! By me! Now, I like birds and they appear to be a very nice couple who have brought along a friend for the summer (maybe a nanny?) or is it just that in their dive-bombing raids at me they are moving so fast that I think I see three of them. This is becoming an ongoing battle. Last year this same couple decided to divide and conquer as their strategy and it did work. While one kept me busy taking down the starts of a nest at one corner, the other built the real nest in a different corner. There were eggs in it before it dawned on me that I had been outsmarted by two bird brains. But this time it is going to be a different story! I have gotten wise...I think!?! I was told that swallows do not like barn owl. I was to get myself a plastic barn owl and set it on the porch. Problem solved! So, I found this nice plastic barn owl that is about 18" high. The very nice woman at the store told me to sneak it out in the dark of night (so the swallows won't see it) and place it where it could be seen in the light of day. This I did and, with great anticipation, waited to see them pack up and move to another neighborhood. That next morning, after two dives at the owl and no response from it, they promptly went back to building their new nest. I now have a plastic barn owl and live barn swallows on my porch. I am going to sneak out this evening under the cover of dark and hang it (the owl) from the porch ceiling and hope that it moving in the breeze will convince them that it is real and they need to vacate the premises. However, I'm not holding my breath. These are two pretty savvy little bird brains.