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Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina)

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Mark Borden and the Swallows

Mark Borden of Whidbey Island has invited Violet-green and Tree Swallows to nest in his fence. Why? Originally, it was to control the insects on his horse farm. He once watched as a horse fly flew across the pasture. In came a Tree Swallow, and phwapp! It grabbed that fly! So he built a nestbox... read more »

Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, nesting

Swallows on Wires

Once nesting season ends, swallows know it's time to party! Whether they nest as single pairs or in large colonies, both adults and juveniles now gather on electrical wires by the dozens, socializing before they migrate. Migrating by day - and foraging for insects as they go - swallows (including... read more »

Topics & Themes:  migration

Hendricksons and the Violet-green Swallows

Ray and Gretchen Hendrickson made homes last spring for swallows in their garage in Leavenworth, Washington. When the birds had picked out a hole, they took a coffee can and tin snips, and cut down an inch around the top so they could bend the little flanges out. They tacked the can behind the... read more »

Topics & Themes:  environmental champion, nesting

Take Time to Observe Nature

Earth Day 2014! A spring day, and Mallards and wigeons muddle about, while male Red-winged Blackbirds court their harems. Friends gather to put up a greenhouse – like a barn-raising of old! A parade of chickens passes by. Everyone responds to the warmth of the sun. With the job done, we take a... read more »

Topics & Themes:  reflection

Clean Nestboxes in October

It’s a wistful moment when your backyard birds — like these Black-capped Chickadees — depart their nestboxes. By October, it’s time for one last duty as nestbox landlord: to clean it out. Cleaning will reduce the incidence of parasites in the box and make it more inviting to next spring’s tenants... read more »

Topics & Themes:  nesting