Thursday, May 07, 2015

Making Baby Tree Swallows

Everyone likes birds. What wild creature
is more accessible to our eyes and
ears, as close to us and everyone
in the world, as universal as a bird?
~David Attenborough

About six weeks ago or so we put up a bluebird nest box, after seeing a pair flitting around the yard. Less than 60 seconds after finishing getting it set up, a bluebird landed on it.

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We watched the pair move in, carry nesting materials into the box. They don't seem to mind our presence or the sound of the lawnmower.

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Since that was such a success, a couple weeks later we set up another nest box far away at the other side of the front yard. The bluebirds in the first box showed interest in that one as well, occasionally going into it. But they quit doing that, apparently settling for their first choice. We named them Pete and Gladys.

We are now hearing peeping sounds coming from the first nest box, so it seems that a family has been started!

Another week or so went by with no activity at the new nest box, until a pair of birds we had never seen before started landing on top of it and going inside. We pulled out all my bird ID books and discovered that they are tree swallows. They are really striking birds. They swoop around, and have been seen carrying nesting material into the house.

They are difficult to photograph, they never seem to hold still at all. I went out again today to try to capture them with the camera. We named them Ruby and Richard. One of them spent a great deal of time in the box, poking its head out the door and checking out the new neighborhood.

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There is a large wire that runs across the yard, over the house (I think it's the phone line). Many birds use that wire as a resting place; it's also over a couple of bird feeders that are popular. While I was sitting outside with the camera, I noticed that Ruby and Richard were both on the wire just a short distance above and in front of me. One of them was flip-flapping over the other. I sat there (camera on my lap) wondering what they were doing. Oh! Wait! Making little tree swallows! So I whipped the camera up and was able to get some pictures. 

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING IMAGES CONTAIN GRAPHIC MATERIAL THAT MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR SMALL CHILDREN. VIEWER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

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And then off Richard goes, with a cheery "See ya!" I'm sure.

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So! Maybe we will soon be hearing peeping sounds from that nest as well.

I am writing this on a computer next to a window with a clear view of that phone line and Ruby and Richard's house. As I was writing that last paragraph, they had another session of procreating. Randy little birds, aren't they?

It's getting close to paddling time here, and we found some new lakes last year that we want to try out.

Stand by.