Monday, July 16, 2007

Tree Swallow Chicks

In February, Wayne and I put up bird houses at our float cabin on Powell Lake. We bought them, but our friend John devised the brackets to place them in strategic locations. In June, I told you about the three different types of swallows that have arrived in Hole-in-the-Wall. Now that summer has arrived, they have settled down to rearing their new families.


A pair of Barn Swallows started building a nest of their own under our cabin roof eves. Unfortunately, after a week of industrious work, their nest fell and the pair left for a better location. Fortunately, we still see them flying around feasting on the early summer flying insects.

John installed five bird houses, three on our land-based shed, one on the cliff and one in our floating garden. In the beginning, both Violet-green Swallows and Tree Swallows seemed to be interested in all of them, but in the end, only one was occupied. When we returned to our cabin in late June we could hear chicks inside. The occupants ended up being a pair of Tree Swallows. Both parents have been tending the nest. They spend hours catching flying insects and returning to the nest to feed their hungry babies. We estimate that the chicks are now about four weeks old.

Last week, one chick posed for photos. As you can see, he is still covered with down. Another interesting thing happened. One of the parents was taking nesting material out of the nest. My guess was that she was "house cleaning" to get rid of dirty bedding. I guess that makes sense with all of the continuous bug eating that has been going on. Have you ever watched nesting tree swallows? Let us hear some of your experiences. -- Margy

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