Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallows are lovely, early migrants to Minnesota. I have previously blogged on this swallows on 20 April 2011 and 11 August 2011. Because they compete with Eastern Bluebirds for nesting holes, the swallows are sometimes maligned by bluebird enthusiasts. If you favor bluebirds over Tree Swallows, you have a number of options. Keep your bluebird boxes widely separated. Bluebirds defend larger territories than do swallows. Too many boxes increase swallow/bluebird aggressive encounters. Bluebirds often are the victors when there are not too many swallows in bluebirds' habitat.

Surprisingly another solution is to pair bluebird houses. Swallows will drive out close-by swallows, but they often ignore nearby bluebirds. Even back-to-back boxes will work. Nevertheless, the houses for bluebirds should still be widely (300 feet) separated. These bluebird facts are from Chris Gates and his website that makes for interesting reading. This year my friend Penny has been having a great time running a bluebird trail--check out her website.

1 comment:

  1. I love tree swallows too, and we are thrilled to have one of our nestboxes occupied by a pair of tree swallows. Most of the nestboxes we are helping to monitor are paired to allow bluebirds and other species like the tree swallows to coexist; a few are not paired, and it is actually in one of those that we have the tree swallows. In our dealings with leaders and members of the Bluebird Recovery Program of Minnesota, we've heard only support for the idea that other native birds may use the nestboxes. Thanks for the link to the tree swallow project website -- very interesting to read the discussions there of the suitability of various box styles for non-bluebird species that may use bluebird boxes. Food for thought, indeed.