Sunday, May 29, 2011

Tree swallows - the aerial acrobats of the bird world

Tree swallows arrive fairly early in spring. They use the bluebird nest boxes I have set up on the property and guard them ferociously.

Two days ago I saw them chase a bluebird away. My neighbour had the same experience which we both think is very sad because we love bluebirds and rarely see them here.

However the dance and swoop, dive and float of the swallows is a wonder to behold. They will have two or three families while they are here. Soon I'll find remnants of little blue eggs - startling in their intense colour - around the property but far from nest boxes, to obscure the notion of babies being hatched.

There are some sparrows that will try to chase the swallows away, but mostly these graceful birds are the victors and are successful in raising families. It's quite amazing on a warm sunny evening to watch their aerial acrobatics as they catch insects on the fly.

Despite our cool rainy weather, I've seen them out in the evenings, flying very high to make the most of the short time left before night falls, since they seem to avoid the high winds and cooler days. One of these days I'll get some courage and open a box and take a photo of the nest and young. The swallows will try to drive me away by dive-bombing me, and at times I've nearly been hit by them. But if there are young it will be worth it. Stay tuned for the next chapter!

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