Jim Coda Nature Photography

Our Tree Swallow Nest Box


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.