The Determination of a Barn Swallow

The Determination of a
Barn Swallow




Every Spring since I moved into my current home, a host of birds popularly known as Barn Swallows have taken it upon themselves to give me unsolicited lessons in the power of determination and persistence.

From March through May of each year they make a decision to take over my patio, the poolside and the entrance to my home by determinedly building nest after nest. I, in return, wage a valiant and sometimes hilarious battle not to lose the enjoyment of my home to these industrious birds.

Last Spring, I not only hung up a plastic Owl to scare them away, I even used my daughter’s model of the Snowy Owl too. It worked for a few days, but after a while, these smart birds figured out that those Owls could do them no harm and they went right back to constructing their nests again.

It is not uncommon for me to spend half an hour breaking down and hosing off their nests each day. And yet, by the end of the day, there will be the beginnings of at least two new nests.

A Barn Swallow weighs less than an ounce and is no more than 8 inches long. It loves to build its nests in man-made structures, hence its name. Most people tolerate them because they consume a great deal of insects and they do have pretty songs. But while I appreciate the good they can do, I am totally averse to the inconvenience of their droppings and the extra work cleaning up after them.

But the Barn Swallows around me could care less about my concerns. Building their nests is directly linked to the survival of their species so with great determination they set out for their tasks and they don’t back down no matter what! They believe in rising early and getting to work immediately. From all their happy chirping, it seems they have figured out how to enjoy their work too.

We, human beings, could learn a thing or two from them on the power of focused persistence and determination. Despite my best efforts (and I do put in some effort), at least two Barn Swallows will ultimately build their nests and lay their eggs before I catch on. Once the eggs are laid, I pretty much yield that territory to them.

How about you? When was the last time you had that kind of focus and determination regarding any goal? How many times do you get back up after you’ve been knocked down? Do you use your time wisely? Are you working hard or sitting around hoping for a handout?

Perhaps, the poem, Press On, by an anonymous writer will spur you to follow the example of the Barn Swallow.

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.
Talent will not;
Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.
Genius will not:
Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.
Education will not;
The world is full of educated derelicts.
Persistence and determination alone are important.”

Recommit to your goals and decide today that no hell or high water will again stop you from success.

Aya Fubara Eneli is a best-selling author, Christian Life Coach, Motivational Speaker and Attorney. Her life’s purpose is to empower
and equip people to live up to their highest potential. She and her husband live in Central Texas with their five miraculous children. Join her at the Women’s Abundant Life Retreat in Belton, TX. For more information, visit or e-mail her at