Nesting Asilomar Birds

I am so lucky that I get to witness these astonishing bird interactions and activities just in passing. I can’t imagine what it would be like to monitor these birds all day long. The drama! I love Violet-green Swallows as they are very beautiful and graceful in the air but also tenacious at the nest: moms don’t leave if the box gets opened, they are scrappy when fighting with the Western Bluebirds for a home, the juveniles return to the boxes when they’re bored of foraging on their own. Just immense personality. And really understudied compared to the Tree Swallows, which have a wider range. I’d like to conduct more research on the VGSW and figure out why they have years of total nest failure and other years are successful. Someday, when I have more time. There are other images of some of my favorite park residents, which include the Western Bluebirds, Pygmy Nuthatches, and Northern Flickers. All are amazing individuals who I love.

Breeding photos

Apart from the Black Crown Night Heron nest on a rock just off shore, these are nest box pictures of four cavity nesting species.

Adult Violet-green feeding Young

A female (top photo) and the male (bottom photo) feeding young at nest box.

A Violet-green returning to nest box

I have been monitoring violet-green swallows for many years. I have noticed that they like to re-enter their nest boxes after they have fledged. One swallow this year entered again and stayed to the next morning.

Fly By

This baby has only been out of the nest for a few minutes with both parents fly by feeding.

Piggy-back Violet-green Swallow babies

Violet-green Swallow babies close to fledging. They spend lots of time taking turns hanging out of the nest box hole and being fly by fed by parents during the last few days before they fledge. I’ve never seen 2 babies manage to squeeze out of the nest box hole at the same time before.

Violet-green Swallow Young

Swallows at nest box.

Violet-green Swallow

A violet-green swallow with a feather for its nest.

Violet-green Swallow fledgling.

Violet-green Swallow baby within hours of fledging.

Violet-green Swallow meal time

Violet-green Swallow baby being fed at nest box entrance. They should fledge in the next day or 2. I will miss them!


Violet Green swallows at nest box

violet green swallows nesting

nesting time

violet green swallow nest

The violet green swallows love this yellow box. they have used it several times over the years.

Violet-green Swallow Turnbull NWR

VGS Nestling near fledge day

2nd VGS Nest Site on MT BB Trail

Down the gullet

Such a delight to watch these birds maneuver around the box opening to feed their little one’s. I stood on a ladder, for a half hour, at box level height, to capture.

Taken with a Pentax K50, 200 focal point, shutter speed at 1600, ISO 100, manual setting.

New additions

Right when I think all our swallows have nest sites, another whole group of GV swallows appears!

Live nest cam of Chickadee and Swallow nests

Here’s the link to my USTREAM live 24/7 stream of the split screen now showing both our Black Capped Chickadee nest and our Violet Green Swallow nest at the same time. The screen has a date/time stamp.

The Chickadee as laid 7 eggs which should hatch any day now (as of 5-10-17) and the Swallow is finishing her nest and should lay eggs soon. Please also click on “Follow” when in USTREAM and share it with anyone else who may be interested

Violet Green Swallows feeding newly hatched young

Here is a link to a video I narrated of a male & female Violet Green Swallow (my wife Becky named them Ed & Abby) from last year (2016) tending to 6 newly hatched chicks. All successfully fledged.

A couple of nest mysteries

You can ignore the first mystery, it was a dead hummer at my feeder then after that I had a couple of nest mysteries, the still shots show what I was up against. First, a Black-capped Chickadee nest…and only one ‘hatchling’ with some four or five other eggs that never hatched. Second, a Western Bluebird nest that after the season was over I found a dead what I think was a female Violet-green Swallow in, underneath- and a couple of Bluebird eggs that never hatched. Two nest oddities.

Young Violet-green Swallow

A young violet green swallow sticking his head out of his nesting box to be fed- he was quite bold and let me come quite close. They nested again the next year round, but the brood was killed by house sparrows.

My Bird Boxes

Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Cornell Lab of Ornithology