Swallow fledgling on a gloved hand

Helping Hand (a rather ruffled Violet Green swallow fledgling)

Violet-Green swallows are back, fresh from their long journey from the tropics. They visited us four or five times in April, announcing their arrival in that lively bubbling language that is so unmistakeably “Swallow”.

They swooped low, making multiple passes over our lawn and garden and checking out the  nest boxes on the side of our house. On one of the visits, a swallow climbed inside a box and stayed for the afternoon, looking down at us each time we passed by. But so far, they haven’t actually moved in.

However, we’re keeping our fingers crossed. In the spring of 2010 we we had repeated visits by up to a half dozen Violet-Greens, causing our hopes to rise, then sink again as they disappeared. Finally, after several weeks of these short, sporadic visits, a pair moved in to one of the boxes and began raising a new family. The same thing happened in 2011. So we’re hopeful.

Could the birds checking out our nest boxes this spring be the same pair? Or perhaps some of their youngsters, now grown up? Perhaps even the little guy that we rescued? (See the photo above, and more below.) He was the last one to leave the nest in June, tumbling onto the lawn when he finally plucked up the courage to try out his wings. It’s fun to imagine he might remember us!

More photos of the fallen fledgling – mouse over image for caption, and click for larger, slide show view:

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About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer and writer focusing on nature and the environment

10 responses »

  1. Sherry Galey says:

    It’s wonderful to learn about these swallows. They’re amazing and so are the photos. Hope they move in! Cheers.

    • Thanks, Sherry! They were back again yesterday for a quick visit – swooping past the next boxes and chattering away. But once again, they didn’t stay. Still, I’m not giving up hope – it took quite a few visits last year before they moved in. Maybe they’re just having a few “last flings” before they settle down to another round of parenthood!

  2. conniegallant says:

    Hi, Laurie – nice shots of the beautiful little guys. What type of boxes do you use for their nesting? I have several small bird houses throughout our property and I’m always hoping they claim one but, so far, no luck.

    • Hi Connie, glad you like the photos. The two boxes on the side of our house are just ordinary wooden next boxes with round entry holes and shed-style rooves, with the entry holes about the same size as a chickadee would use. They’re on the east side of the house and about 12 feet high. Good luck with your bird houses – if your experience is like ours, it may take a few years before anyone makes use of them.

  3. liammoriarty says:

    Very sweet, Laurie! Your blog almost always makes me smile!

  4. pattilee says:

    I feel very blessed when the violet greens return every year — same
    with all our singing frogs. I worry that we will be abandoned one year as the human burden on the fragile planetary environment becomes just to great. But, they’re here again – lots of them, diving and swooping. I always thank them for their loyalty to us.
    We shout – “The violet greens are back!” Our boxes have been cleaned – I hope they will move in.

    • Glad to hear that both of these wonderful species are making their presence known at your place, too. What a great time of year! I’m relieved that violet greens are not currently considered at risk – unlike barn swallows, whose population has really crashed in Canada in recent years.

  5. Susan Banjavich says:

    Love the photos.Always a lovely site to visit.The swallows are beautiful.

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