TREE SWALLOW – (Tachycineta bicolor)
The Tree swallow is a small passerine bird that acrobatically catches insects in flight. It is around 12 cm – or 5 in. long. The top parts are iridescent blue green, while the under parts are white. Females have similar colors but duller. The bill is small and the mouth opens wide to allow catching insects on the fly. The wings are as long as the the tail when folded.
The name ‘tachycineta’ means ‘moving quickly’. The tree swallows, due to their diet, live and breed in open spaces. They nest in cavities, and will easily be attracted to nesting boxes. They are protective of their nest and will dive bomb on people or animals when the latter are getting too close.
This bird is very common in PEI in the spring and summer. It migrates to the southern USA, Mexico and the Caribbean. Tree swallows are very social in their wintering areas and may reach up to several thousand birds when roosting.