Learning to swallow

I started this blog three years ago, with photos of tree swallows nesting in an old martin house:


But tree swallows are really supposed to nest in dead trees, hence the name. This summer, on June 21,  they were nesting by my big beaver pond, something I hadn’t yet noticed, but luckily Mary Jewett’s sharp eyes spotted it. See the holes in this dead tree?

Tree swallows

The parents come and go with food, wedging themselves into the smallish holes:


And squeezing out again once the food has been delivered:


Sometimes a nestling sticks their head out, so the adult takes the opportunity to ram a large dragonfly right down her offsprings’s throat.


The youngster seems a little uncertain how to handle this rather large dragonfly :


But he gets a grip, and the mother checks before leaving:


And the nestling bravely gets it down:


No messing about pretending to be an airplane for 5 minutes when feeding your toddlers: just force it down their gullets.


Maybe human parents should pretend to be swallows, not airplanes?

Much of the feeding is done in a brief encounter while the adult remains more or less on the wing. The chick gets ready:


and the food is transferred:


Occasionally they take a well-earned rest:


3 thoughts on “Learning to swallow”

  1. Great photos, Moira. The birds look so streamlined. At a wildlife area, near here, there are nesting boxes on poles for the Bluebirds, often, the Tree swallows get there, first.


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