Tree Swallows are cavity nesters. Choice locations are holes in trees, but they readily take to man-made nest boxes. The male diligently guards the nest box from predators such as House Sparrows or Red Squirrels, while the female builds the nest and incubates. Young swallows spend most of their time watching for their parents, peering from the opening in the nest. Usually after 21 days the chicks leave the nest. Once they fledge, they do not return to the nest box and will follow their parents, learning to catch insects on the wing. Long-distance migrators, Tree Swallows are often seen flying in large, circling flocks numbering in the thousands, as they select roosting spots to settle in for the night. Fascinating birds, they are one of North America’s most studied bird species. These two fledglings were fortunate to have their first flight caught on camera as they left the nest box—and they never looked back.

Music: “Medium Rock” by Jason Shaw

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