Fledging Update Two And The Late Nest

A Few Tree Swallows Are Still Hanging Around, But Most Have Left

What a difference!  From 14 active nests to one in just a few days time.  From 109 resident Tree Swallows down to 8.  And while the parents of the remaining late nest at Box 2 were working to feed their six young, I’ve been dismantling the rest of the grid for the year.  First wipe the grease off the poles and remove the predator guards.  Then take each box off its pole and remove the old nests.  Finally, dig the poles out and replace the supporting rocks at the surface of each hole so I can relocate them again next spring.  Oh, and lug everything across fields and hedgerow to my car for the ride home for box washing and disinfecting, and equipment storage.  I sure wish I didn’t have to go through this ritual each year – I’m getting too old for it.  I did decide to leave Boxes 3 and 4 up a bit longer – they seem to be favorite sunning and preening perches for those swallows that remain.

Scruffy Adults Sunning And Preening On Empty Box 4

The fledging report is in for Boxes 5, 10 and 13 – all their nestlings lived to fly, bringing the total to an even 70 young produced in 2012, with a possibility of six more if those in Box 2 make it.  This last brood looked good at 9 days old on 6/26, but I’m getting nervous about disturbing the parents.  I’ve been giving the box a wide berth, because I feel the adults’ instinct to care for their young is now competing with the urge to join the flocks at the big upstate NY marshland complexes where the region’s Tree Swallows stage for migration.  I suspect adults at late nests become more prone to desert as summer advances, and since I don’t want to be the cause there’ll be no more box checks and no banding of nestlings at late Box 2.

The Last Active Box At Salmon Creek

I have to say Box 2 looks pretty isolated, but it is seldom alone, for passing juveniles are drawn to boxes containing nestlings as if by a magnet.  They perch on the roofs and at entrances, and sometimes even enter the boxes, and they must be a real nuisance to the parents at times.

The Late Nest In Box 2 Attracts Curious Juveniles

However, this last set of parents may have an advantage over the earlier nesters because the immediate grid area has far fewer Tree Swallows to feed now that so many adults and juveniles have left.  Perhaps the Box 2 parents won’t have to search quite so hard for the flying insects to feed their brood during the week or so until they finally fledge around 7/5.

Oh well, I’ve stalled around long enough.  It’s time to wash and disinfect boxes for off-season storage.

Boxes Waiting To Be Washed And Disinfected

 Here are the Control Sheets for 6/28/12.  Click thumbnails for expanded views.

Control Sheet 1 For 6/28/12Control Sheet 2 For 6/28/12


Control Sheet 2 For 6/28/12

5 thoughts on “Fledging Update Two And The Late Nest

  1. Just wanted to say that it has been great following you and your swallows through the breeding season! I’ve learned a lot! I’ve got a pair of tree swallows nesting in my yard, first year they’ve been here. The young have gotten quite large and I am guessing they’ll fledge at about the same time as your last nestbox, if not sooner! The same two nestlings always seem to be waiting at the entrance to be fed, they’re greedy! Hahaha. It has been very interesting and educating to follow your posts and compare it to what I’m seeing with mine here! Anyways, I’m glad this was a good year for you and I hope for many more to come! :)

  2. Thanks, Nicholas. I’m glad you’re having a successful nesting and are enjoying your first of what I hope will be many experiences with tree swallows. They are great teachers!


  3. There is only one thing I was slightly confused about. We have three perfect suitable nestboxes in the yard. One on a dead stub over-looking a marshy area, one in a live poplar that is open to its surroundings and the last in a live poplar that is treed in (there are other trees around it). They chose the one that was surrounded by other trees, I thought they liked being able to fly right out into the open? They have to dodge some branches before they can get into the clear now… it doesn’t seem to bother them though. I just thought that was kind of interesting! And thank you! I hope we get them to move into all three boxes next year! (: (I’ll have to watch closely when I come home from university for the summer to see where they are!)

  4. Nicholas- we had the same issue with the pair that nested in our yard. I had placed some nest boxes (actually gourds) in an area that I thought would be ideal for the Tree Swallows, however they kept kept investigating a Bluebird box that I had in another section of the yard. This BB box is not in what I would call an “open” area, as there are trees around it. It’s also located at the end of our driveway, so there is a decent amount of human activity near the box as well. There was a little tussle between the two birds early on, however the BB’s eventually chose another box about 25 yards away. Long story short, the TS’s successfully raised a brood of 5…..As Chris has mentioned in an earlier post, I guess some of them really aren’t as picky as we might think. The photo of them building a nest in a boat trailer proves that! haha

    Chris- I also enjoyed following your blog as well. A ton of very helpful and interesting information!
    We’re already missing the TS’s, as the young have all fledged….looking forward to hosting them again, knowing we will use much of your shared knowledge!

  5. Mine have fledged now as well! I’m not sure how many there were, but no heads poking out of the nestbox anymore! I’ll have to inspect the box in a week or so to see what the results are.