They say the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano on the 19th of March every year. Rancho San Diego boasts its own colony of the same bird, the cliff swallow. After a long flight from as far south as Argentina, they recently arrived.
According to Mark, a resident of the Tristán condominium complex at the corner of Fury Lane and Via Rancho San Diego, the first swallows appeared on Friday, March 20.
“I’m in and out every day, and the first birds I saw and heard were on Friday, when I was home all day. It was just two birds who flew up together to an old nest site, seemingly squabbling about who was going to build there again.”
Friday the 20th was also the first official day of spring. By Saturday, several swallows could be seen flying over the condo complex in greater numbers, sounding their high-pitched, rapid twittering voices and swooping in and out from just under the high roof eaves.
Because of the mess that nesting birds tend to make below their mud nests, Tristán residents are encouraged to interfere with nest construction by hosing off any mud deposited by the birds. This method of urging the birds to find an alternate nesting site is legal, but once the nests are completed, state and federal laws protect them until the season is over, usually by September.
A few months later, using high-pressure water spray, abandoned nests are removed by the homeowners’ association. Some residents – mostly those who are not affected by the noise and droppings outside their bedroom windows -- enjoy watching the birds build their nests and raise their chicks.