Tree Swallow

(Tachycineta bicolor)

Experts at acrobatic flight and quick turns, Tree Swallows can be seen capturing their insect prey in mid-air over open fields. These birds likely spend more of their lives within the air than perched. For this reason it may be easy for a casual observer to miss their beautiful blue-green iridescent coloration. The Tree Swallow gets its name from its behavior of nesting in tree cavities but it will readily nest in man-made boxes that have bluebird sized entrance holes. Due to this researchers have had the chance to work on many studies which have contributed to our knowledge about ecology and placed them among the best-studied bird species in North America.

...While it may not yet be known what the effects of climate change are having on the Tree Swallow and other species in our location, it is interesting to note that Tree Swallows are migrating sooner than expected to northern locations. Mountain Bluebirds that breed in the grassland locations of British Columbia previously did not have to compete with Tree Swallows for nesting boxes since the bluebirds would arrive first. Now, however, the early return of the Tree Swallows have put the two species in situations of conflict over nesting space. For more information on this topic follow the article link here -- Who Wins in a Fight Between Bluebirds and Swallows?

....more info coming soon

Length: Males = Females =
Weight: Male ~ lb. Female ~
Diet consists of insects that range in size from 2 in long to smaller than a grain of sand. Unlike other swallow species, when food is scarce in winter Tree Swallows eat much plant matter, berries, and seeds (items can make up to 20% of its annual diet). During the breeding season the species will also eat high-calcium items like fish bones, crayfish exoskeletons, clam shells, and eggshells.
Migration -- spends winters in southern North America and along the Caribbean coast of Central America. Despite all the knowledge we have about Tree Swallows little is known about their lives during migration and winter.

Returning to breed in the spring, Tree Swallows arrive earlier and can be located farther north than any of the other American swallow species.

Nests in cavities of trees and nesting boxes. Occasionally will nest within building eaves.

Clutch size: 4 to 7 eggs. 1-2 broods.

Incubation: 11 to 20 days.

Fledging: 15 to 25 days.

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  1. "Tree Swallow, Life History". All about birds, The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Retrieved October, 2016.
  2. "Tree Swallow". Audubon Guide to North American Birds. Retrieved October, 2016.
  3. "Tree swallow". Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved October, 2016.
  4. "TRES". Tree Swallows on the trail, Sialis. Retrieved October, 2016.
  5. Small, Andrea (June 23, 2016) " Who Wins in a Fight Between Bluebirds and Swallows? " News, Climate-Threatened Birds, Retrieved October, 2016.