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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tree Swallow fledging

We have 15 pairs of Tree Swallows nesting here, in NH, and now some have young fledgling young from their boxes. When Tree Swallow young leave their box they can fly and feed themselves. However, for the first few days they may land on the nest boxes of other Tree Swallows and try and beg on last meal from any adult they see, including their parents, basically creating a lot of chaos.
That is what is happening here. A newly fledged Tree Swallow has landed at the entry to the nest box of a pair that have their own young still in the nest. The fledged Tree Swallow is at the entrance hole, blocking the way. It is browner than the adults, has a lighter bill and they have a vague wash of darker color on their upper breasts. Its mouth is open, hoping for a tasty morsel.
The adults who have the box want no part of this youngster and it soon left and flew to another box and tried the same trick with no luck.
After fledging the Tree Swallows join with adults into large flocks and make their way to coastal and other water habitats and feed. They make their way down the coast, eating Bayberries and, in the South, Wax Myrtle berries in winter. They also eat insects.
In Florida, in winter, we have seen flocks of thousands of Tree Swallows, moving around, staying there until their spring migration north. We always wonder as we look at one of the birds in the flock, if it was born here, at Bobolink Farm, our NH home. We like to think so.


BLD in MT said...

Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

Haven't seen any fledglings out in our yard yet, but soon enough I bet!

Jenny said...

Great picture! I always wonder the same thing about the birds that were here last year. Are these the same ones? Do they remember that I left food out for them? I hope so!

Ruth Hiebert said...

These are fascinating shots.

MaineBirder said...

WOW, incredible captures!