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Tree Swallow vs Eastern Bluebird

The usual visitors to our garden in the past few years just came back…the Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor).  We heard their unique gargle-like chirp up in the sky a few days ago.  Four of them.  Yesterday they were chased off by the Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) couple that have been checking the bird houses in our garden.  They have narrowed it down to two favorites, but haven’t settled yet.  So, anytime any birds get on one of the houses they like, they will swoop down and chase them off.  This applies to the Tree Swallows as well.

A swallow stretching on the house at the vegetable garden.

The Swallows came back to their same old house that they have been nesting in for the last few years.  I think this time they came back with their kids since they seemed to be interested in two houses.  They happen to be the two houses that the Bluebirds like.  But the Bluebirds arrived first, so there is some territorial dispute between them.  Now what?

We love them both.  One is metallic blue, one is sky blue.  One eats insects high up in the sky, one catches bugs lower and on the ground.  If one  were House Sparrows, life would be simpler as we have no problem raiding their houses.  They are about the only bird not wanted.  I just have one little reservation about the Swallows nesting in the box in the vegetable garden.  I would have a tough time tending our vegetables if they did.  They dive bomb me every time I get too close to their house after they have laid eggs.

A Male Bluebird blocks the old Swallow house

I hope they settle down soon so I can start counting how many families we’ll raise this year.  Just a little sense of accomplishment and great joy to know that we helped raise a few generations of some of the more embattled and beautiful indigenous bird families.  Nothing like watching them building their nest, laying their eggs, raising their young and their young learning to fly.  We are happy to see more and more of the ones that live with us year round like the Northern Cardinal, woodpeckers and Chickadees.  It’s nice to see the migrating families come back every year and to watch the brood expand with each spring.