Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Great Bird Confab...

...this post continues the house-hunting adventures of the Tree Swallow couple from the previous post (click here for the first installment). With the endless discussing, twittering and scolding going back and forth between these two swallows and the two angry little House Wrens, this "episode" is called The Great Bird Confab. It truly looked like a mighty discussion was taking place...pros and cons were being discussed by the swallows, and threats and barbs were being thrown all over the place between the swallows and the wrens...

A male and a female yearling Tree Swallow twitter back and forth at the entrance of a very popular nesting cavity! Female yearling Tree Swallows retain the brown color of their youth. As yearlings they have only a hint of the sparkling metallic blue and green feathers they will sport next season.  

House Wrens can sound a bit raucous even when they are happy, but when their ire has been raised, they are little hellions. This angry wren was vigorously defending her nesting cavity...

House Wrens often steal nesting cavities from other birds (and will even kill nestlings and larger birds to evict them), but this time, I think they were there first. Just below the hole the swallows were interested in was a downstairs entrance that was bursting with twigs--evidence that a House Wren had been working there and had already set up camp. House Wren nests are twiggy and look uncomfortable, but within the twigs they create a soft cup often filled with feathers from other birds. 

...meanwhile, these two continue to discuss the possibilities...

...weighing the pros and the cons...

...and who knows what else.

I think I'm being told to kindly butt out, take my camera elsewhere, move on, ride out on the horse I rode in on, or maybe I'm just being asked..."Do you mind?" It's an unnerving glare to say the least... 


Angry bird...
The wrens would come in close and scold, then fly back a bit and sit. Then come back in, scolding and chiding. I saw no physical contact, but things were heating up.

Seething bird...

...the swallows look like they are sniping at each other, but really, their singing back and forth was beautiful, musical and sweet--a quick jumble of fluid notes that was wonderful to listen to.

The female enters the nest again, and the story continues... 
There were a lot of photos to wade through here...sorry! I was going to choose just the best and post them in one entry, but since it's sometimes difficult to see Tree Swallows up close, I decided to post several of the photos to show the varied expressions, head tilts, and postures of the tree swallows. Artists can feel free to use the photos in this trilogy (another episode is coming) as references to study postures, plumage, etc.


These photos were all taken on May 7, 2012 at Magee Marsh in Toledo, Ohio. I was at the Biggest Week in American Birding festival. This is part two of a three-part series:

Click here for part 1 (focuses on a yearling female at the nesting cavity).
Click here for part 3 (closeups of a male Tree Swallow)

27 comments:

Sue said...

I certainly enjoyed all the photos, but that one of the swallow GLARING at you--priceless.

KaHolly said...

What a riot!! Can't wait for 'the rest of the story'! ~karen

TexWisGirl said...

the tree swallows were too cute! such attitude!

Julie G. said...

Your posts are exceptional! Your wonderful photographs exhibit quite well Tree Swallows behavior. That glare shot ... wow! I will have to check back to see how the saga continues.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Kelly, So glad we don't have those nasty House Wrens around here. I seldom hear anything GOOD about them... I love our Carolina Wrens --but they are sweet little birds...

Loved the expression on the Swallow when he was telling you to get on your horse and gallop away!!!!!! ha ha

Cute post.
Hugs,
Betsy

Janice K said...

We were at our son's house yesterday, and some tree swallows have a nest high up under their front porch. They practically dive bombed us as we tried to leave the house. I guess we were invading their territory. They were so upset.

Look forward to seeing more of your saga.

Tammie Lee said...

the conversations you come upon and then share with us are amazing. The photo of the bird looking directly at you, wow, so intense.

Robbie said...

Fabulous series!!!

Appalachian Lady said...

I like all the photos and the story you tell. I wish I had tree swallows around here.

Lois Evensen said...

Wonderful! I love your story telling with your terrific images. :))

Happy Sunday,
Lois

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Hi!!.. Nice pictures.. Beautiful moments captured.. Congrat..

Dan Huber said...

wonderful photo series Kelly, I also love the glare shot.

dan

Frank said...

I enjoyed this chapter very much plus the super series of images.

Elva Paulson said...

Wonderful series of tree swallow photos! They sure do have a lot to say to each other. I hope they nested for you and that you have more photos! I once watched a nest during incubation .... in and out, in and out, in and out. It seems food demands kept the birds busy during incubation.

Mary Ann Gieszelmann said...

What a great series of photos, Kelly! It begs to be made into a children's book.

Montanagirl said...

Great series of this whole drama, Kelly! He was sure giving you the stare-down look, as in I just dare you to take one more photo!

Elaine said...

Love that "Do you mind?" look and the seething wren disputing the presence of the interlopers! The suspense is building, like all good trilogies. And as usual, I have a hard time waiting for the final chapter. I like to have all three volumes of a trilogy in hand before I begin reading the first so I can move right on through all of them. Don't keep us hanging too long....

dAwN said...

Great photos all! Glad you posted all of them!

Kathie Brown said...

Kelly, these are fabulous shots! I cannot believe the color and clarity of these photos! What a wonderful thing to witness. I'm glad you had your camera! I love the sound of swallows and swifts twittering and chatterig to one another! It makes me smile!

L Lewis said...

Just discovered your blog and I adore it! Your observations, photos and artwork are like taking a time trip back to my childhood in Warren and Hamilton Counties, where I explored many of the same places, enchanted by the wild worlds I found there. Looking forward to your next chapter!

Guy said...

Hi Kelly

These are beautiful photos and I loved the chance to view them. I was watching a family of Wrens last week and the thing that first got my attention was all the noise.

Guy

Gillian Olson said...

Wow, these are great pictures of swallows, I love the iridescent colours on the male. Enjoyed the series, thank you,

Banjo52 said...

Another great series, Kelly. Thanks.

troutbirder said...

What a great post - pictures and comments. Far better than the soap operas one can see on TV. I'm just catching up on friends blogs today as it took several weeks to replace our computer which died of some sort of viral disease....

Kelly said...

...thanks, everyone! I loved listening to these two birds chattering back and forth at each other. When the House Wrens would come in to scold, the confrontation was almost vicious. Both couples meant business, and both couples wanted the same nesting cavity. Their ruckus drew a large crowd!!

E said...

Perfect timing, Kelly, great story and photos. Hugs.

E said...

Love all the photos, great timing and
beauty, thanks for your great teaching.
Hugs