Tree Swallow Tachycineta bicolor
Cooper Marsh Conservation Area, Lancaster, Ontario, Canada
April 22, 2011
With thanks to http://www.talkaboutwildlife.ca
The Tree Swallow breeds from Alaska to Labrador, excluding the Arctic Islands, and in the northern half of the United States.
They are a short distance migrant, wintering in the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and from Baja California to Central America. During this time they congregate in large numbers roosting by the thousands in marshes and in stands of trees. The Tree Swallow is similar to the Violet-green, but lacks the white patch over and behind the eye. The preferred habitat is mature woodland with nesting cavities, adjacent to water.
The diet is primarily flying insects, with lesser berries. This adaptation of using berries, allows it to migrate earlier and further north than any other American swallow.
The nest cavity is lined with grasses, pine needles, and a large variety of feathers, usually from waterfowl. In the urban setting they commonly use nest boxes. Approximately five days before the young fledge the parents become territorially aggressive, their safe zone expanding from about two metres to ten metres, and are known to dive-bomb helpless gardeners until about a week after the young fledge. The female may return to the same nest for up to five years where she lays 2-8 white eggs, incubating them for 13-16 days. The pair tend to the young which fledge in 16-24 days. One or rarely two broods are produced.
Sony Alpha 700, Sigma 28 to 300 at 300 mm, circular polarizer
iso 100, multi-pattern metering, F6.3, 1/160 second