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Would you like to learn more about birds? Tree Swallow nest box projects are wonderful places to watch songbirds as they nest and raise their young. And Tree Swallows are perfect birds for close-up, hands-on learning: they are active, attractive, and super-tolerant of people. Best of all, they live right out in the open so you can really see what they're doing. They will let you into their lives like no other songbird, and will teach you about songbird reproduction in ways no book can.
What is a Tree Swallow nest box project?
It's a place, usually out in a large open field, where several pairs of Tree Swallows nest near one another in a grid of pole-mounted birdhouses.
Within a project grid each box is spaced roughly 100' from other boxes.
Since Tree Swallows defend small territories their boxes can be clustered in one location. They don't need to be spread far apart in bluebird trail fashion.
In fact Tree Swallow projects make enjoyable alternatives to bluebird trails for people in Canada and the United States who want to conserve birds.
If you'd like to create your own Tree Swallow Project we can show you how to:
Pick a great project site.
Make and mount your boxes, and protect them from predators.
Check your nests and keep records of their progress.
Maximize the nesting success of your swallows.
Photo below by Robert Thomas.
At your project you'll be able to witness these songbirds at close range as they:
Compete for nest boxes.
Court and form pairs.
Build nests and mate.
Care for their eggs and young.
Plus, if you want to learn even more:
We'll help you follow the swallows through each step of their nesting cycle and help you understand what you see.
We'll explore the value of bird banding and show you how to find a licensed bander.
We'll examine the tremendous contribution Tree Swallows have made to ornithological research.
Creating and managing Tree Swallow projects can help you become:
A conscientious and successful wildlife manager.
A skilled field observer, someone who can see, rather than just look.
Able to experience the natural world in new and enriching ways.
More aware of ecological, biological, and behavioral issues faced by all life.
About this web site:
We have tried to make this site as useful, accurate, and informative as possible, because we want others to create their own Tree Swallow projects, and enjoy and learn from them as we have.
The site was written specifically for beginning or novice bird enthusiasts who are motivated to learn more about birds as living, reproducing organisms.However, we suspect experienced birders will learn a thing or two here as well.
This site is also meant to be a resource for teachers and parents searching for ways to help children make real and lasting connections with the natural world.
While there are other ways to pursue these goals, we believe management for and systematic field observation of one highly visible and approachable species offers a comprehensive and natural set of learning experiences, and we believe that much of what a person learns studying one species can be applied to other birds.
We are convinced that Tree Swallows are the perfect birds for this task, and that nest box projects for Tree Swallows are ideal settings for this type of learning.
Our goal is to constantly improve every aspect of this web site. Your input can help. Please contact us regarding any questions, opinions, or corrections you have concerning the site's content, or if you simply want to chat about Tree Swallows.
We are extremely grateful to those of you who have already shared your experiences and photographs. You have helped create a more comprehensive and instructive web site, and we look forward to your future contributions.
So if you do want to learn more about birds, we think this web site can help you on your journey of exploration, and remember, if you decide to create a Tree Swallow nest box project of your own we'll be here to help, from start to finish.
Regarding Our Blog:
In order to give you a sense of the trials and tribulations Tree Swallows may face we blogged the Salmon Creek Tree Swallow Project's 2012 nesting season from the birds' arrival in western NY in late March to the final nest's fledging in early July.
Since we think this chronicle is both instructive and thought-provoking we're keeping it a permanent part of this web site. The blog has been converted to pdf, with posts presented in sequential order. Click Our Blog to access it.
Photo below from Charlie Kelley.
New for 2016: Thanks to Francois Paquette of Quebec, we are now able to include videos taken by in- box camera of many important aspects of Tree Swallow nesting that until now were hidden from us. These videos have been uploaded to YouTube, with links to them on appropriate pages of the Nesting Guide. We learned a great deal watching them and we think you will too. Merci beaucoup, Francois!