Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tree Swallows Claim Nest Box

The Tree Swallows have been busy choosing nest boxes for the start of the nesting season. Bluebirds have reaped the rewards of spending the winter in Southern Ohio and already have nests in three boxes. Tree Swallows are actively negotiating control of the remaining boxes. It may appear that these two have inherited a rundown shack, but this box has fledged more young birds than any other on the property.

One Tree Swallow, which I will designate He, looks into the box while the mate, known as She, watches other Tree Swallows circle overhead. I can’t be absolutely sure about those labels, but first year females normally don’t display the full blue coloring and show more brown on the head and back.

While He is inside, another potential tenant does a fly-by.

She isn’t happy with the intrusion and tells He to get out here now.

He obligingly reappears to find everything quiet. There are way more Tree Swallows than I have boxes for, so I’m hastily putting a couple more together. Tree Swallow chatter is so loud that it’s hard to hear anything else in the field right now.


  1. What a joy to see your recent posts. The birds and flowers and critters - such a wonderful neighborhood you have!

  2. I ♥ nestboxes and watching the drama unfold. Do you track your nests or just enjoy the show?

  3. Love those old loose board moss covered boxes--and so do the bird!! Perhaps some birds are just down home country folk :) My backyard house shopping is on and I think the bluebirds have decided on there's but swallows are still squabbling over about 6 of them !!

  4. I'd love it if some Tree Swallows nested in our boxes. The first year we put them up (3 or 4 years ago) we had one successful brood of Tree Swallows, but they haven't been back since. We've got a nice bluebird nest underway, complete with eggs, and two more boxes standing at the ready (our effort is small). How many boxes are on your trail?

  5. Alexandra - Thanks. It's been way too warm and dry here and things are changing almost daily. New things are showing up so fast that spring seems to be on fast forward.

    Renee - I kept detailed records for several years and then I stopped when it became obvious that my boxes were producing a lot of birds. I've always enjoyed the show.

    grammie g - Some birds just love a house with that lived in look. They were still out there squabbling this evening.

    Heather - I've got 12 boxes up right now. I'll try to get a couple more up by this weekend. I put a new box up last year at this time and the Tree Swallows were circling my head waiting for me to get out of the way. By the time I was 40 feet from the box, the birds were going inside. Talk about instant gratification.