Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat

Observations of 2017 Tree Swallow Prey

While photographing purple martin prey being brought to their nestlings, I also briefly monitored prey brought to four tree swallow nests in our yard. The tree swallow nests each contained older nestlings capable of swallowing larger prey. Many feeding visits did display prey items too large to be completely hidden in the adult’s mouth.  However, sometimes the adult would place its closed beak into the wide gape of a nestling before opening its mouth, and, likely ejecting a bolus of tiny insects such as gnats or mosquitoes. These, of course, went unrecorded.  But, the larger prey closely mimicked the medium size prey that purple martins were bringing to their larger nestlings.  Both species had a field day with the swarming hover flies. And, both species brought a great variety of insects to the nests.  Perhaps a decrease in the numbers of flying insects is not the cause of our decreasing barn swallow population, since these two other species of aerial insectivores are doing fine here.  But, it still seems that we have had far fewer insects on our property in recent years.  I should try to monitor barn swallow prey in 2018 – a much harder task.

Tree swallow with prey
tree swallow
tree swallow bringing prey to nestlings
tree swallow insect prey
tree swallow feeding young
tree swallow
tree swallow
tree swallow food items
tree swallow at nest box
tree swallow
tree swallow
tree swallo with mouthfull
tree swallow
tree swallow prey
tree swallow
tree swallows at box
tree swallow at nest box with prey

2017 - Return of the Monarchs!
Purple Martin prey photos 2017
2010 - 2014 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
barn swallow artificial nest cups
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
2016-2017 Kestrel nestings
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
barn owl American kestrel purple martin barn swallow Eastern bluebird
tufted titmouse Eastern phoebe yellow shafted flicker tree swallow chimney swift
house wren big brown bat Carolina wren brown thrasher catbird
Eastern wood-pewee
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
turkey vulture
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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