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Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

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Nest Cavities - Book Early

Swallows and bluebirds — like this Western Bluebird — are among the earliest northbound migrants to arrive, heralding spring a month before the equinox. Both species will nest only in cavities, such as old woodpecker holes or man-made nestboxes. But the supply of specialized nest sites is limited... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Birds Helping People - Vineyards

In some vineyards of Napa and Sonoma Counties in California, owls patrol by night, and kestrels, harriers, and other raptors take the day-watch. They eat the mice, rats, and gophers that nibble on the roots of young grapevines. Other birds help, too, including this Western Bluebird. Wineries put... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  human interaction

Birds Return with the Light

Winter's weak light is finally beginning to strengthen, and some birds, long absent, have begun their journeys north. Tree Swallows, such as this one, phoebes, bluebirds, and more return with the light. So be of good cheer, the birds and Spring are coming back. You can learn more about this... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration, vocalization

Tree Swallows and Feathers

Tree Swallows glisten in the June sunlight, as they swoop and glide, their arcs interlacing in the air. When a white feather flutters down among them, one swallow snatches the feather in its bill and flies upward, as another gives chase. After a moment, the lead bird lets loose the feather, which... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  nesting

Tree Swallows March North

Every March sees the annual spring migration of Tree Swallows. The swallows spend the winter along the Caribbean, in Central America, and in the warmest parts of South Texas and California. Some will nest as far north as northern Alaska and Canada. Tree Swallows nest only in cavities, such as old... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  backyard sanctuary, migration

Tree Swallow Roost

As the sun sets over the Connecticut River, as many as 300,000 Tree Swallows gather on the wing in one huge, tightly choreographed flock. With dusk at hand, the aerobatic flock - now shaped like a tornado - swoops down into the tall reeds. It takes but 15 seconds for the 300,000 birds to vanish... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  migration

Swallow or Swift?

At a glance, swallows and swifts, both graceful fliers, look much alike. But swifts — like this Chimney Swift — have longer, slimmer wings and short bodies, enabling them to glide for long periods. Their glides are punctuated by rapid, stiff bursts of wing-beats. Swallows, on the other hand, flex... read more »

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Topics & Themes:  birding, birdwatching, flight

Tree Swallows Spend the Winter

Most swallow species that nest in North America eat almost nothing except flying insects. When the bugs die off in the fall, the swallows head south to winter in the tropical zones of Central and South America and the Caribbean. However, Tree Swallows can also eat small fruits. If Tree Swallows... read more »

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