Posts Tagged ‘Tree Swallow’

MAN AND HIRUNDINIDAE

May 20, 2014

Humans and the family Hirundinidae (swallows and kin) have grown to become mutually helpful and even dependent. Without swallows many of our farms and cities would fill with mosquitoes and their ilk. Without man many swallows family members would lose nesting sites and thus diminish in numbers.
In North America the co-operation between humans and members of the swallow family has increased over the past two centuries. In the mid 1800s naturalists noted how the Barn Swallow had begun to nest around buildings in Northern California. Today Tree Swallows and Purple Martins regularly use nest sites provided by people. Sometimes Tree Swallows will appropriate a box first intended for bluebirds. Martins are colonial nesters so they oust House Sparrows and take over the provided tenements. Barn and Cliff Swallows regularly use manmade structures from bridge to barns to porches across their range.
martinropolis A Purple Martin tenement at Ottawa NWR, Ohio.puma gourd

PUMA FRNT A perched Martin.

trsw holeTree Swallow nesting in a natural hole.

trsw shape

trsw-onest
bars nest
Barn Sweallows working on nests on the side of a building.
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Many other birds now take advantage of intentional or incidental manmade nest sites: Barn, Great Horned, Great Gray and Screech Owls, European Kingfishers, many raptors nest on pylons or utility poles, Wood and other ducks, nuthatches, chickadees, bluebirds or all three species, phoebes, House Wrens, White-throated and other swifts. In Europe the most obvious building users are White Storks.

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All these pictures were taken during a PIB field trip to northwestern Ohio earlier in May.

TIS THE SEASON

March 30, 2014

HOUS-SHPPING
It’s not just about the nest box, but where that nest box is placed. This one happens to be in a patch of oak savannah at about 3000 in the western foothills of the Oregon Cascades. It’s surrounded by open meadow and rolling hills that drop sharply down to a year-round stream. No humans live within a mile of the place and it’s back from the highway. No pesticides, no toxics. Just the sort of neighborhood where you’d raise your family if you were a bluebird.
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This nest box is on the fence of a tiny garden behind a row of town houses. It faces a busy sidewalk next to a busier parking lot adjacent to a dog park full of noise-making carnivores. Just the sort of avian slum where you’d expect the hardscrabble House Sparrow to eke out a living on bread crumbs and seeds.
HOSP-NST BOX
This drumming Red-breasted Sapsucker is still advertising for a mate. House-hunting will come later.
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This pair of Flickers seem well-matched. She sits up and listens to his drumming. What more could a male Flicker ask for? And later in the day I saw them checking out nest holes in Lithia Park, Ashland, Oregon. Location, location…
FLKR-PAIRD
GHO-NESTING1 (1280x960) Look carefully to the left of the female Great Horned Owl. You’ll see the round, white head of an owlet and its dark eye-rings. This is at least the fourth straight year a pair of GHOs have used this nest near Ashland. Whoever first built that nest did a great job; owls don’t build their own nests but “borrow” or squat in what they can find.
MAGEE MARSH
PIB will be present at the Magee Marsh bird festival again in early May. Here are some nest pictures fro last year. This female Woodcock nested in a weedy strip along one side of the very busy parking lot.
woodcock nestShortly after they hatched before a group of wondering birders, mother Woodcock led her quartet of newly dried fuzz-balls into the nearby Magee Marsh woods where they quickly vanished from view.P1570600

Finding a place to raise your children is always emotional. This pair of Ohio Tree Swallows is a case in point.TRSW SCREAM

And, finally, this location seems perfect for Great Blue Herons. It’s at least the third straight year the nest has been used. It sits high in a cottonwood above Neil Creek, facing Oak Knoll Golf Course southeast of Ashland.

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HERE IN ASHLAND, OREGON, THE KLAMATH BIRD OBSERVATORY IS SPONSORING OUR FIRST-EVER MOUNTAIN BIRD FESTIVAL. IT IS MAY 30-JUNE 1. WHITE-HEADED WOODPECKER, CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD, WESTERN SCREECH-OWL, SANDHILL CRANES ON NESTING GROUNDS, BOTH EAGLES, NESTING OSPREY, ACORN & LEWIS’S WOODPECKERS, MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD AND CHICKADEE, HERMIT AND MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER, CASSIN’S FINCH AND VIREO, BAND-TAILED PIGEON, BLACK TERN, RED-BREASTED AND WILLIAMSON’S SAPSUCKERS, GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, LAZULI BUNTING, AMERICAN DIPPER, WRENTIT, TOWNSEND’S SOLITAIRE–SOME OF THE BIRDS WE EXPECT TO SEE. WITH A LITTLE BIRDING MOJO WE CAN ADD GREAT GRAY OWL, SOOTY GROUSE, MOUNTAIN QUAIL, NORTHERN PYGMY-OWL, SWAINSON’S HAWK, EVENING GROSBEAKAND NORTHERN GOSHAWK.

DOMESTIC BLISS

May 6, 2013

HOUSE SHOPPING
Two Tree swallows discussing real estate concerns. Ottawa NWR, Ohio. At Biggest Week in American Birding.