Tree Swallows

tree Swallow-Presque

I like birds with personality. The ones that look like they mean business especially. The ones that project, “Don’t mess with me, I just might kick your butt.” Funny coming from something the size of a walnut.


I posted the first photo on Nature Photography/Wildlife Photography Facebook’s group page because this little guy and his friends have some real attitude. One of the comments said, “lucky to find one standing still.”


I thought about that for a moment and generally speaking they are a very busy bird and the woman was totally on the mark. Usually one sees them chasing after flying insects with the acrobatic swerves, weaves and turns of any professional aerialist.

During breeding season, the Tree Swallows do stay put more often guarding and protecting, at least until an interloper moves in, then the steely blue head gives the stare and the action begins. Birds are not too tolerant of each other when they are guarding a new nest.


They can be downright vocal. I bet there are a few unprintable chirps bandied about. What do I know though, but it does seem like they argue a lot. This is the week the Tree Swallows return to our area and it is such fun watching them do battle for a nesting hole. Unfortunately, the Eastern Bluebird and Tree Swallow use the same size hole, but every family needs to find shelter. Long live those cute as a shiny button swallows.


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30 Responses to Tree Swallows

  1. They really are adorable and you’ve got some great shots here. As an artist, I’m drawn to the flight shots. Really nice. Thanks for sharing them.

  2. bittster says:

    They are cute as a button! Beautiful photos of one of my favorite birds.

  3. alesiablogs says:

    The blue is so gorgeous. Wish we had that blue head here in the PNW. Attitude Galore! I am all about attitude! This is a great post showing your readers through photography these captivating birds. I think I would like to meet them. : )

  4. I noticed the bird in the last photo is banded. Is this a species that’s being watched and or protected in your area? I enjoy ready your blogs. They have a twist of humor to go along with beautiful photos, it’s certainly a pleasure tuning in.
    As a wildlife photographer, what would be helpful is if
    you can, at times, add your camera settings with the photos.

    • donna213 says:

      The banded birds are part of a study. I am going to find out this year when I visit this preserve. The images were taken last year in April. Camera settings: On the rail f10 1/640s -0.67 Exposure Comp. ISO 320 – Flying f10 1/1000s -0.67 ISO 400

  5. You captured some great shots, and they’re all precious! We have a blue/white swallow here on the mangrove/tidal riverr as well as southern rough-winged swallows.

  6. Nick Hunter says:

    Excellent. Really like the second image – perching swallow shots are near the top of my list of favorites. Do you know anything about the banded bird?

    • donna213 says:

      Most of the birds here were banded. I believe it was a study of migration routes. They also participated in nesting site studies because the boxes can be more closely placed than bluebird boxes also being more accessible for viewing.

  7. You’ve captured the attitude well with these beautiful sharp pictures. These are photogenic birds.

  8. aussiebirder says:

    Great flight shots Donna, is the leg banding because the bird is being studied or a release from a breeding program?

    • donna213 says:

      I am pretty sure it was a migration route study, it might even be the one between Canada and the Eastern Great Lakes done previously. I may ask this year when I visit this preserve.

  9. dodgeblue says:

    Great shots Donna. Out here in California you’d probably love our cliff swallows, which poke their heads in and out of their mud nests.

    • donna213 says:

      We have them too here. I never featured them but will sometime. I love that brick-red color on their necks and that white patch on the head. It looks like a lighthouse beacon.

  10. My Heartsong says:

    I like watching these little ones; feeding their young lined up on the fence eating bugs, so much to look forward to

  11. Gorgeous closeups, but I really like the action shots!

  12. Pat says:

    Beautiful captures.

  13. Girl Gone Expat says:

    Some great pictures, and how beautiful the swallows are! The ‘metallic’ blue colour is stunning. Great captures!

  14. We won’t see the Tree Swallows for weeks here…they come in later than the bluebirds. And once they are nesting, swallows of any kind will attack unrelenting if you get within many yards of their nests. They tend to find the newspaper boxes that are used here as nesting spots making it hard to walk in the neighborhood.

    • donna213 says:

      I don’t see them like the images above from May quite yet, but birders in our area report seeing the early birds (tree swallows) March 21-March 31. Yes, they have lists of bird species arrival times.

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