Last year my husband build me three bird boxes and dutifully put them up in our garden. Within a few weeks we had some tree swallows making one of them their home, and then the June storms arrived, the areas around our town got flooded and we never saw the birds again.
I am happy to say that they have returned this weekend!
I spent the morning working in the garden when suddenly, in they flew. A lot of chatter took place before the pair settled on a box. I just love watching these birds; both seem quite undisturbed by humans and our two Westies, so I was lucky enough to be able to get reasonably close to take these photos. Our daughter decided they needed to have names, and after a little while we settled on Arthur and Guinevere.
As with most bird species, the male is the more colourful one of the two. The blue of his feathers looks so brilliant when the sun hits it, whereas the female is a lovely brown. These birds are known for their air acrobatics and chase insects with some daring moves.
The tree swallow gets its name from the fact that it usually nests in tree cavities. The female will take anywhere between a few days to two weeks to build the nest, which she shapes into a cup by pressing her body into the gathered nesting material. She will lay around 4 to 7 eggs, which have an incubation period of 11 to 20 days. The eggs are a pale pink when first laid, and will turn white within 4 days.
Tree swallows are long-distance migrants. They begin migrating south in July and August, flying during the day and roosting in large flocks at night.
Apart from their aerial acrobatic displays, I love their constant chatter, as they are a very vocal species. There was another pair that flew in with them, and the noise these four made was astonishing, especially as they are only small birds.
I truly hope this pair will breed in our nest box and keep coming back, they are such a joy to watch.