Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Sydney the Swallow

Sydney came to visit us our first night at sea on our way to Bermuda. Isn't he lovely. I figure he is a he because of his brightl colours; his lovely russet brown head and hs gleaming almost irredescent back.  We were over a hundred and fifty miles from any land when Sydney decided to have a sojourn aboard Cat's-Paw IV. I was down below sleeping and It was almost shift change time when Barry whispered that a bird was on the main winch and that I had to be careful of him. PARDON! Next I was informed that the netting to cover the entryway was down to prevent Sydney's re-entry below. WHAT!!  Good thing I didn't wake up with a bird fluttering about my face, mayhem would have ensued!
Later as I was about to wind in the winch Sydney had claimed for his perch, I had to touch his tail feathers in order for him to move. After the second light tap he fluttered off to the other side of the dodger where he took up residence on a line. He was still with us at daylight when Barry was once again on deck and we were doing a sail change.  Barry actually lifted him up and deposited him ( with the barest of peeps from Sydney) in the back of the cockpit in hopes that he would fly off and continue on his journey. He continued to perch head tucked under a wing when we were done taking in the sail so Barry moved him back under cover in the cockpit. 
He finally decided to leave mid morning and I was sure we had seen the last of him as he beat up into the sky. Last evening he arrived once again. I had actually seen two or three swallows winging their way across the sky an hour earlier but I was very surprised to see Sydney once again.  I knew it was him by the cock of his head and the proprietary air he assumed as he once again took possession of the main winch. 
                              Out of focus, but shows his colours better. 
Why, who, where, how come?? Where is he headed? Perhaps to his summer quarters in Canada. Who is he? I looked in my bird book and I think he must be a southwest cliff swallow, they summer in Canada to Mexico and winter in south Brazil to central Argentina. Why did he stop? Any port in a storm. How come he allowed us to handle him? At first I thought he must be injured but once he flew away I cannot figure out why he would allow us to touch him.  Any bird experts out there please e-mail me at to let me know the answers to my questions, PLEASE.