Friday, April 25, 2008

Tree Swallow Territory

As their name suggests, tree swallows spend little time on the ground, preferring instead to perch. They spend much of their time in flight and tend to glide more than any other species of swallows. In order to bathe, swallows swoop down over water. They lightly brush the water and then begin to fly upwards, shaking the water off. They also bathe by preening extensively during rainfall, using it as a shower. They are strongly territorial during the breeding season. Both sexes defend an area around their nest, usually a 10 to 15 m radius, against other nest site competitors. Competition for nest sites is thought to be the underlying motive behind much of tree swallow behavior, including sexually selective infanticide, frequent copulation, and strong aggressive responses to nest site competitors.

Tree Swallows are interesting characters. While guarding their homes, they can get pretty comfortable with you near by. I set up a chair at Goose Lake Prairie State Park and waited for various shots. Watching them ward off potential intruders is a sight to see. They are extremely animated in behavior. You will witness one giving another a piece of their mind when they get too close.

There are plenty of birdhouses surrounding the lake for Swallows to occupy, which means sentry duty goes on 24/7.

The irridescent deep blue coloring makes these swallows such a handsome bird!

1 comment:

Don and Sheryl said...

Nice blog, found it by reading your comment on "It's about the journey"

That is interesting about how the Tree Swallows bathe. My wife and I were watching a flock of them on the Hudson River about a year ago in early April when it was cold and we saw them diving. I thought they were after a hatch but it was so cold, so now I think they may have been bathing.