When I left for work yesterday morning, I was a little worried about Nemo, the aptly named runt of the baby barn swallows living on our patio. He had managed to get out of the nest and was lying on the concrete. I put him back in the nest with the others, but he was having trouble even standing. I hoped he was just “playing dead.” But when I returned that evening, I could tell immediately that he hadn’t survived the day. I don’t know if he was injured from falling out of the nest, or if he was just too small, and mama bird only fed the stronger ones. Either way, I felt horrible. When I removed his body from the nest, the strongest baby – the one that flew into the pond – flew off. His mom followed him, so I hope he was strong enough to survive on his own. The fifth bird was nowhere to be found. After having a proper burial (hey, I even buried my pet fish as a child), we found the missing baby bird laying dead just off the edge of the patio. He must have died a day or two before without us realizing it. The two that remain in the nest are getting stronger and stronger, and I bet they’ll fly off soon. I guess 3 out of 5 is pretty good odds in nature, but I still wish I could have saved them all.