About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Blue black bird with white belly

If you live next a golf course, an open pastures or field in mid-Michigan you may be lucky enough to see Tree Swallows from the end of March to mid-October. Tree swallows have iridescent greenish-blue on their head, shoulders and back, and a white underside. They have a short black beak and dark brown feet. Young tree swallows look similar to adults, but they are brownish above instead of greenish blue.

They nest in natural tree cavities, or man-made nest boxes, including those built for bluebirds. The bluebirds and swallows are both native species and both desirable birds to have in your yard. One proven technique that allows both songbirds to nest together successfully is to set up pairs of boxes, no more than 10-20 feet apart. Since Tree Swallows will not allow another pair of swallows to nest within 20', the second box is free for bluebirds use and the two species can co-exist, after some initial squabbling to sort out who gets which box.

Tree Swallows are our most common summer swallows and are often seen perched on fence posts near their nest boxes. They also spend much of their time in flight. To bathe, swallows swoop down over a body of water and lightly brush the water. To eat, swallows catch mostly winged insects while in flight, but can forage on the ground for insects, spiders, seeds, and berries.

Related articles:
- Bird Nest Basics http://bit.ly/sqNq0u
- 5 Tips to Attract Birds to Nest in your Bird Houses http://bit.ly/uWN7fE
- Common Backyard Bird Nest Identification http://bit.ly/GRg910
- When do birds begin nesting? http://bit.ly/GGuobs

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