Tree Swallow - Tachycineta bicolor
The tree swallow is about five inches long. It has a forked tail; a metallic green to blue head, back, and wing feathers; and white feathers on its breast and belly. It has a small black bill, dark brown eyes, and light brown legs and feet. Females are duller in color than males and their foreheads may be a brownish color.
In North America, the tree swallow breeds from Alaska east to Newfoundland and south to California, Colorado, Nebraska, and Maryland. It winters north to southern California, the Gulf Coast, and the Carolinas.
The tree swallow eats flying insects like beetles, horseflies, moths, grasshoppers, and dragonflies. They search for insects over land and water and catch their prey in the air. In the winter, they may feed on berries.
Males arrive at the breeding territory a week before the females. Once the females arrive, breeding pairs form. Male and female pairs defend their nesting territory. A pair has more than one nesting site, usually in a tree cavity, but they will use only one site for their eggs.
Tree swallows are short-distance migrators. They gather in large flocks in the fall. They are the first swallows to reappear in the spring.
Audio Credit: xeno-canto.org Andrew Spencer