History Bits – Snap Shots

Swallows Don’t Just Come Back Capistrano
The Birch Bay Story:

Pat & Pat had to move The C Shop to its present location in 1979. At that time the old building was inundated by Barn Swallows. They loved the eves of the old building for building their nests. Mr. Pat was very nervous that a swallow nesting over the entrance to the candy shop would contaminate a customer’s candy. He did not want to hurt the birds or their nests when they had eggs or chicks in them. At the end of September of that year, Mr. Pat, Removed the nests from the building. In the spring Mr. Pat put up swallow birdhouses and nesting shelves around the sides and the front of the building. Yes, the Barn Swallows use the nesting houses and the nesting
shelves. Pat was pleased. But some of the birds still nested on under the front porch. This went on for a few short years.
Then suddenly one spring The swallows did not nest in their birdhouses and nesting shelves around The C Shop. House sparrows moved into the swallow birdhouses. Mr. Pat was unhappy. He liked the pesky swallows and he was worried the Barn Sparrows were driven away by the House Sparrows.
It took a little while for Mr.Pat to figure out what really happened. Whatcom County built a new bridge over Terral Creek. It was a real bridge. It was replaced on culverts that were covered with gravel than pavement. Pat discovered that the swallows had a new nesting place it was under the new bridge. They liked it their new home.

Pat started keeping track of when the swallows would return to Birch Bay. Basically, they show up at their bridge around Mother’s Day.

Swallows Come Back to Capistrano
The Capistrano Story:
The miracle of the “Swallows” of Capistrano takes place each year at Mission San Juan Capistrano, on March 19th, St. Joseph’s Day. Swallows migrate 6,000 miles from Goya, Argentina to San Juan Capistrano in large groups.  The town of San Juan Capistrano welcomes visitors from all parts of the world to witness the return of the swallows, a tradition that has been celebrated since the early 1930s.

The Legend of the Cliff Swallows of Capistrano
In his book, Capistrano Nights, Father St. John O’Sullivan, Pastor of Mission San Juan Capistrano (1910-1933) tells the story of how the swallows came to call the Mission home.

One day, while walking through town, Father O’Sullivan saw a shopkeeper, broomstick in hand, knocking down the conically shaped mud swallow nests that were under the eaves of his shop. The birds were darting back and forth through the air squealing over the destruction of their homes.
“What in the world are you doing?” O’Sullivan asked.
“Why these dirty birds are a nuisance and I am getting rid of them!” the shopkeeper responded“But where can they go?”
“I don’t know and I don’t care,” he replied, slashing away with his pole. “But they’ve no business here, destroying my property.
Father O’Sullivan then said, “Come on swallows, I’ll give you shelter. Come to the Mission. There’s room enough there for all.
The very next morning, Father O’Sullivan discovered the swallows busy building their nests outside Father Junípero Serra’s Church.

Enjoy The Ink Spots. When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano on your walk.

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