As most of my readers probably know, I built two new bluebird/tree swallow nest boxes this year, and was lucky enough to get one pair of each. The bluebirds laid five eggs and haven't been around to see much very often. The female incubates all day, and the male does somthing else somewhere else all day except for occassional visits with food for the female. I hear (read, rather) they will be around constantly once the eggs hatch, so I can't wait for that to happen. After they are around non stop I will try to get some good photos of them. It is next to impossible to do now, because I hardly see them!!!
The tree swallows, on the other hand... Are here nonstop (except for occassional trips they make to the neighbors pond), and they are about the best birds that I know of! They are very friendly, and let me walk right up to them, less than three feet away, before they fly off. They are very pretty birds, and also, quite entertaining. As if being so friendly and catching feathers that you toss into the air for them isn't enough, it is also fun just to sit and watch them fly as they swoop around in the air as the catch insects. About the feathers... tree swallows line their nests with feathers, so when you take a big, fluffy feather (preferably white, though any color will work) and toss it into the air, they swoop by and catch it. After flying around and playing with it for a while, they will bring it to their nest and stuff it inside. Even if they don't need any more feathers for their nest, they still enjoy playing with them. The swallow that doesn't have the feather chases the one which does have it, and the one being persued will drop the feather and the other will catch it, then the cycle repeats. The one which just caught the feather drops it and lets the other swallow catch it. Very entertaining.
And now for the actual update. There isn't much to update about the blues other than I just checked the nest today and the five egss haven't hatched yet. The swallows, however, are in dire need of an update. Incubation ahs not yet begun, because most birds (including swallows and bluebirds) lay one egg each day, and began incubation once the last egg has been laid. Swallows normally lay about 5-6 eggs, but mine seem to be laying above the average ammount. As of today, they have laid seven eggs, and have still not begun incubation, which leads me to beleive that they may lay an eighth. When I tried to enter this egg count into Cornell Lab's Nest Watch program, I had to click a 'Confirm' button, because my count was above the average ammount, though seven eggs isn't entirely unheard of. That's about all I have to say. Below I have posted a few photos of the blues and swaller's, though.
Figure 1: Female bluebird incubating eggs.
Figure 2: Male Tree Swallow Roosting in an uncompleted nest on a cold, rainy day.
Figure 3: Male tree swallow bringing a dove feather to the nest.
Figure 5: Male tree swallow perched on an old fencepost.
Last notes on the above: I really love to old wooden fenceposts which makes the birds look like they are perched in a rustic country setting.