Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Year...New Look

As much as I loved my banner and the clean white slate I was frankly boring myself. While recuperating from the hustle and bustle and lovely noise and busyness of the holiday, I am indulging myself with play. Playing on the blogs, reading books, listening to music, quietly rejoicing Life with as little effort as possible. Time to freshen this puppy up. Blue. Quiet, calm, peaceful, Zen. Reminds me of the beautiful blue-green Tree Swallows that delight me so.

I've been fortunate enough to see them twice during migration, but only once did I photograph them. They swooped through our yard and settled into a field across the street, diving and foraging among the weeds. They dove and hopped and rustled through the grass obviously after something specific, but I couldn't determine just what. They were only there about 5 minutes before lifting en mass and moving eastward in a blue-green swirling dervish. They flew all around me, not bothered by my presence. Cornell says their ability to use plant foods help them survive periods of bad weather. Maybe they were picking up some yummy seeds. Normally, they catch insects in flight and nibble berries.

Cornell also states that outside of the breeding season the Tree Swallow congregates into enormous flocks and night roosts, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands. They gather about an hour before sunset at a roost site, forming a dense cloud. They swirl around like a living tornado and as darkness approaches they then wheel low over the cattail marsh or grove of small trees. Large numbers drop down into the roost with each pass of the flock until the flock disappears.

The Tree Swallow uses many feathers from other birds, usually waterfowl, in its nest. The feathers help keep the nestlings warm so they can grow faster. They help keep levels of ectoparasites, like mites, low too. They normally nest in tree cavities or nest boxes. Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a NestCam which occasionally highlights Tree Swallows but today, the NestCam is showing Barn Owls. You can link to Cornell Lab of Ornithology's blog, Round Robin, to the right under Nature & Photography Blogs.

Happy birding!

14 comments:

nancybond said...

Both the birds, and your new color scheme, are wonderful. This blue is very calming. :)

Natural Moments said...

When flying together in large groups, it does seem like the Tree Swallows are dancing in air. Flying Dervishes is a great description.

Mike said...

A huge flock of Tree Swallows really is something to behold. But they are impressive even individually... I've always placed these lapis lovelies in my top 10 for North America.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I like your new look.

Victoria said...

What a great way to spend the holidays, and it's a very appropriate time to think about new ideas and new images. May you soar through 2009 as carefree as a Tree Swallow!

wcgillian said...

Change is good!

Thanks For 2 Day said...

Blue is my favorite color! I enjoyed the info on Tree Swallows:)

Jan

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I like the new look too! The blue compliments the bird pictures.

turning leaf said...

I know the feeling. Time for a change and I like what you've done with the place.
;0)

To a Zen 2009!

Blossom said...

I love these photos of the tree swallows! I've never managed to photograph a bird in flight, and you've got several great ones here!

Amy

inadvertentfarmer said...

Oh those photos are wonderful. I love birds, they are so entertaining to watch with their fly acrobatics! I also think you new blue color is outstanding! Kim

Michaela said...

Oh, I love the new look! It's got some "soft edge" to it, if that makes any sense. It's an oxymoron, but whatever. And I love your shots of the birds. They are beautiful.

Carla said...

Great pictures of the swallows. And I love the blue background color of your blog.

albertaphotography said...

so that's where my lovely blue tuxedo'd tree swallows go in the winter! Good thing since this minus 35 degree weather is deadly. Love your new blog-look!

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