Our Tree Swallow Nest Box

Hungry Tree Swallow Chick

Hungry Chick

Our tree swallow chicks fledged today, June 18, Father’s Day.  I knew they were getting close to leaving the nest box, so on Friday and Saturday I spent some time photographing the parents feeding the young.  I missed seeing them leave the nest.

The adults are very fast and agile flyers.  They are to winged insects what peregrine falcons are to most bird species.

I think of them just catching bugs in the air, but I realized in watching them with the telephoto lens that they get vegetation attached to them by apparently also flying into heavy vegetation. The male had a twig sticking out of the right side of his neck and the female had vegetation stuck in her tail.   Fortunately, the vegetation on each came off after a while.  I was worried that the male had impaled himself to some extent, but he finally came in on a feeding run without the stick.

We’ve had the nest box for 6 years and swallows have used it every year.  Unfortunately, all the chicks died last year.   I spoke with a song bird expert and was told that lots of tree swallow nests were unsuccessful last year because of the drought.   Apparently, the dry conditions caused a big drop in insect populations.

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About Jim Coda

I am a nature photographer living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I specialize in photos of birds, mammals, and landscapes.
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2 Responses to Our Tree Swallow Nest Box

  1. Bruceprt2005@comcast.net says:

    Terrific photo Jim. Thanks for sharing.   Bruce  

    • Jim Coda says:

      You’re welcome Bruce. We had a green heron nest in a tree next door, but the tree was so thick with leaves I couldn’t even see the nest. I would have really liked to have been able to photograph them. Their chicks fledged a few days before the swallows.

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