I checked the bird houses today w/ mixed results. Most of the tree swallow chicks are fully feathered and will be flying within the week. I should really have left their houses alone since there is a danger of frightening the chicks so much that they might attempt to fly too early. I checked them because I thought the chicks should have already been old enough to fly. I seem to have some of the most laid-back chicks I've ever seen though and they all just sat still. The bluebird chicks have already flown off so I cleaned out the house in case someone wanted to have a second brood. Found another house w/ brand new bluebird eggs so it might be that those bluebirds have already started in a new location. The bad news was two nests contained dead tree swallow chicks. They had lived long enough to develop feathers so I don't know what happened. Same thing happened in another bird house two weeks earlier. In all of the years I've been checking the houses I've never lost chicks that far along. I was talking w/ my neighbor Doug Dearhamer and we were considering various possibilities - one or both parents were killed or not enough insects to keep chicks fed (it has been rather cold for insects). I considered parasites or disease but the houses are quite far apart. I'll look on-line and see if I can find anything like that just in case.