Identification and PicturesTree Swallow
(Tachycineta bicolor) 5 to 6 inches
Tree swallows are Metallic blue-black, or gray black above, and bright white below.
They have forked tails and short legs for their body size.
The young are dusky or brownish on top. Females may keep the dusky color into their first or second breeding
season, and they may have brownish foreheads.
Tree swallows are often mistaken for Violet-Green
Photos by Keith Lee. The camera I
use is the Canon
EOS 40D and a 70 to 300 zoom lens.
Tree swallows are fun to watch as they glide in circles, ending each circle with several quick flaps of their wings as they climb higher.
The swallows and martins are a group of passerine birds in the family Hirundinidae, with 75
species around the world. They are all streamlined and very graceful flyers.
characteristics are short legs, tiny feet, long pointed wings, and short wide bills.
Swallows have the more forked tail while Martin's tails are
Tree swallows like open country near water such as lakes, streams, or rivers, and open areas near woods.
They can be found through much of Canada, Alaska, and the U.S.
in summer. They winter along the Gulf Coast, in Florida
and into Mexico, and Central America.
Breeding and Nesting
During courtship the male will show the female possible
nesting sites. They build a cup size nest lined with feathers in a tree
hole, building or nest box. Often they will use nest
boxes put up for bluebirds.
The female will lay 4 to 6 white eggs. She will
incubate these for around 15 days. Both parents will
feed the nestlings and the fledglings will be able to leave the
nest in about 3 weeks. The young birds will be strong
flyers when they leave the nest. They will be fed by the
parents for a short time, but it is not long before they are
skilled at catching insects.
After the breeding season Swallows migrate to their wintering
homes in southern U. S. or Central America .
Sound of Tree Swallows
Song is a liquid gurgling twitter repeated with variations, call note
trit or chi-veet.
Like all swallows, the streamlined bodies of Tree Swallows
give them the flying ability to be excellent at hunting insects on the wing.
While flying insects are their main diet, they will also eat berries in the winter.
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