Photo of the Week July 8, 2010

Female Tree Swallow feeding Juvenile
Tachycineta bicolor

Now is the time to get outdoors and see this year's flock of birdies and beasties head out on their own. Young birds are learning the challenges of flying and of finding their next meal. Some lucky individuals have a little more help than others.

This image was taken at Black Lake Meadows, a city of Olympia owned property near South Puget Sound Community College. The meadows are a great spot to bird watch and see many species from common residents like the Spotted Towhee to more unusual birds like the Wilson's warbler and Western Tanager.

Tree Swallows nest in tree cavities, naturally created or abandoned by woodpeckers. Their nests are found close to water sources where they are able to easily capture the insects that make up the majority of their diet. When immature swallows fledge in late Spring or early Summer they continue to be fed for several days by their parents. It is quite a sight to see a nearly full-sized swallow receiving food after dramatically signally to its parent by madly flapping its wings.

For more information on Tree Swallows in Washington State, check out BirdWeb. To see inside a Tree swallow nest, check out the archives of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Nest Cam.