Monday, August 1, 2011

Tree Swallow Family - 2011

 This is my third and final installment of the family of Tree Swallows that have lived in my nesting box for almost two months.

During their time in the box, they remained ever-vigilant of all activity in the yard. They became quite comfortable with me moving about the garden and didn't flinch when I worked on the yard underneath the box.
 This was not the case with other birds. When one would dare to land on top of the box, the pair would dive bomb them until they left. They claimed the power line within a 10 yard radius around the box. No bird was allowed to land on this area without consequence.
It was very interesting as I took pictures throughout their stay that it never seemed to cause any distress. I think they had already come to terms with my presence before they moved in, reliasing that I was quite harmeless.
 Days and weeks came and went and the male kept watch and waited patiently.  Then one day a group of about five Tree Swallows showed up and took turns looking in the box and flying around. I believe that this was the day that the babies hatched. It was like a baby shower with friends and extended family came to see the new ones.
For more than two weeks I could hear cheeps coming from the box and both parents were very busy flying out and back in again with morsels of food for them. Once I began seeing the babies show up in the nesting box hole, I decided to try to get a picture inside the box. It seems that there are only three when resources say that there would likely be four to six eggs.  I don't know if they all didn't hatch or if this was just a small brood.
 I watched as the babies got stronger, noiser and bigger. They seemed to take turns placing their huge mouths in the opening awaiting their next meal.
They got stronger and bigger by the day.
 On Saturday they seemed to be ready to fly. I, of course, couldn't spend all day watching them which is too bad because by Sunday, yesterday, I noticed that they were all gone.
I don't know where they might have gone, but I'm sure that the adults are still providing them with their sustainance for a while yet to come. I am finding a lot of little birds that have flown the nest that are still being fed by their parents. These include White-throated Sparrows, European Starlings, Dark-eyed Juncos and American Robins.

It is likely that this same scenario has played itself out thousands of times around the province over the last two months. This little Tree Swallow was keeping watch at its nesting box at Nevile's Pond in exactly the same way as those in my yard.

This was the first brood of any species that set up house in my yard. I have read that Tree Swallows will often have two broods in a seasons. I will have to read more to see if I should leave the existing nest for this or if I should clean box out for them to start again.

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