Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tree Swallow

This is the father Tree Swallow who perched on a dead Castor Bean stalk in May keeping watch over the mother and her babies located about 50 feet away in a Bluebird house attached to the back on my shed. It states that the male will stay faithfully the whole time at a distance of 50 feet. It was so true. I could get about 3 feet from him, forgetting he was there until he chirped a soft murmur sound. These swallows are the first to return in the Spring. The male will arrive about a week before the female. They are cavity nesting birds and will use woodpecker holes or houses. They will use Bluebird houses which can be placed close by to nesting Bluebirds. But of course they can be prey by the House Sparrow which could kill their babies. Luckily all of the babies survived. I had 7 babies that when they fledged, all came out and perched atop my tomato stakes. It was such a site........of course I never have my camera with me.

They are described as glossy metallic Iridescent blue-green color on their backs, with a forked tail. One of my favorite birds, which catch their prey in the air, they only eat the flying insects and will eat berries when those are not available. In long periods of rain the flying insects are scarce and they can actually starve. After their nest is built they line it will large feathers, it almost looks like the eggs and babies are nestled in a cocoon. The eggs are white and sometimes have a pinkish color to them, they lay 4 to 7 eggs. Of course I forgot to take a picture when I cleaned out their house. I was amazed at the large white feathers, they must have traveled a distance to get those, the only chickens and ducks are quite a distance down the road.

I enjoyed the flock of these birds all Summer while they flew and dived around catching the bugs. I think they have already headed South. They usually migrate in early Fall. Can't wait until they return.

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