Bird Colony – Choice Avian Real Estate

Two Tree Swallow Nests

Eggs of the Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor) by the vegetable garden have hatched, all five of them.   Mom and dad are busy catching insects for the chicks.  They are not bothered by me working in the vegetable garden now.   I think they have learned from last year that I didn’t harm their kids so they let me walk near by without dive bombing me like last year.  This makes it easier for me to weed and pick vegetables in the garden right underneath the nest.

All five of the Swallow chicks look pretty cozy in the nest
All five of the Swallow chicks look pretty cozy in the nest

The second Tree Swallow family nesting a mere fifty feet away also have five eggs.  This family still gets nervous when I get too close to the nest.  She will fly out of the box and perch on a branch above, watching me.  When I get too close they take turns dive bombing me.  I hope they’ll be friendlier next year.

Five swallow eggs on feathers and down in the second nest
Five swallow eggs on feathers and down in the second nest

I put a new nest box up in the garden to lure the Bluebirds in for their second brood but it seems like a third Swallow pair wants to nest there instead.  We are building up a colony of Tree Swallows here and I don’t mind at all.  They are prodigious insect eaters and fun to watch swooping, soaring and gliding in the sky.

A surprise family of Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) is nesting so low in the Rhododendron and very close to the front door railing.  They usually nest higher up in the shrubs or in the thickest of the Forsythia.  Last year we severely trimmed the forsythia reducing their nesting real estate.  There are three turquoise blue eggs in there.  I have to leave the front walkway alone until their chicks fledge.

Turquoise blue eggs of Gray Catbird
Turquoise blue eggs of Gray Catbird

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