I went birding at the Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area this morning and saw hundreds of Tree Swallows! This group is unlikely to include our banded Tree Swallows from our nestboxes, as these are probably migrating from further up north. But how cool would that be if one of these guys was one of our banded birds!
And there was also one Barn Swallow in the group. He really stands out with his orange colors amidst the green/blues and whites of the Tree Swallows.
Our nestbox project is in this fall/winter’s UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences magazine and highlights!
Here’s the magazine:
And here’s the video that goes with it:
The UC Davis Museum of Wildlife and Fish Biology rocks!!🙂
When we check nests after giving the appropriate amount of time for the nestlings to fledge, I love seeing this:
Fledged Tree Swallow nest
It looks and smells terrible, being so full of poo, but this is actually a good sign! A poo-filled box shows that the nestlings have successfully fledged out of their nest! The parent birds stop cleaning up after their babies when it gets closer to the time for them to fledge, creating the build up of poo. If there was a nest with not much poo after the nestlings should have fledged, that would more likely indicate a depredated nest. I’m always happy to see poo-filled nests because that means the babies have made it out to the big world!
We have finished cleaning out most of the nestboxes now. There are just a few left but those currently have chicks on the verge of fledging.
We have reached the end of nestbox season as we have banded the final box – a nice clutch of 3 Western Bluebirds.
Now it’s just time to wait for the last chicks to fledge and clean out all the boxes.
The boxes will remain up year-round. Wintering birds may use them to roost, and then we’ll start checking them again in mid-March when breeding season comes again.
These are the last 3 Tree Swallows of this season! They are nice and fat and healthy. Their parents are doing a fantastic job.
Tree Swallow chicks
And here are some photos of some Ash-throated Flycatcher chicks from this morning.
Ash-throated Flycatcher chick
Ash-throated Flycatcher chicks
Now there are 3 boxes of birds left to band, which we’ll do early next week.
Here are some photos from banding the past week.
Grumpy Western Bluebird chick
Western Bluebird chick
We caught a Tree Swallow mama with food! She was about to feed her chicks. You can see she has some bugs. This is a picture Kristen took:
Captured TRES adult
And these are some of her chicks:
Tree Swallow chicks
Tree Swallow chick
We banded the last House Wrens yesterday morning. We still have a few Tree Swallow, Western Bluebird, and Ash-throated Flycatcher chicks! The season is ending soon.
House Wren nestlings