Montana Outdoors

June 2, 2010

Some of our summer “family”

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — montucky @ 8:51 pm

Some time ago I considered disposing of several old bird houses that had been around for many years. Instead, I cleaned and repaired them and I’m glad I did because they have become the summer homes of tree swallows who come in every year and raise their families in them. Their acrobatic flights are so much fun to watch!

Here’s one of our pretty little summer “family” members who appreciates having a safe nesting place even though it’s old:

Tree swallow

Tree swallow

Tree swallow



  1. I wish I had a nice zoom lens like that! It would come in sooo handy! Great close-up shots!


    Comment by Tricia — June 2, 2010 @ 9:20 pm

    • The lens is an AF-S VR 70-300mm F4.5-5.6. and although I like it, I have used it very infrequently because of its size. I really must try to get more use out of it, but nearly all of my photos are taken when I’m on a trail somewhere and the big lens just isn’t that convenient to carry on the camera. The Vibration reduction is fabulous though!


      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2010 @ 10:06 pm

  2. Superb shots! You nailed the focus perfectly. I love the expressions on the birds face.


    Comment by Jeff Lynch — June 2, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

    • Thanks Jeff. I was actually trying to get close enough to get some shots of feeding time for some starling chicks (which I never did get) when this little gal showed up off to the side. She was so cute I forgot about the starlings, but I’ll get back to them in the next few days I hope.


      Comment by montucky — June 2, 2010 @ 10:08 pm

  3. Oh – how cute – I think s/he is saying “thank you Terry!!”


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — June 3, 2010 @ 12:00 am

    • I think she is! She tolerates me being quite close to her nest.


      Comment by montucky — June 3, 2010 @ 3:22 am

  4. I’ll bet they are glad you kept them, too. I am never able to get close to the ones flying over my field, and have no idea where they nest.


    Comment by sandy — June 3, 2010 @ 5:13 am

    • Last summer there were at least three families nesting in our bird houses (and probably maybe more because there are several houses that we can’t readily monitor). This year, one was occupied by some Western Bluebirds before the swallows arrived. I see hundreds flying over the river in the evenings but have no idea where they all nest. It’s common to see thirty or forty sitting on the lines that bring power down to our house.


      Comment by montucky — June 3, 2010 @ 8:45 am

  5. These are wonderful shots! Usually these little birds are just a blur of motion! What nice little homes they have 🙂


    Comment by Maureen — June 3, 2010 @ 8:52 am

    • They are very fast in the air! And very acrobatic! Yet, they will sit for long stretches looking out of the doors of their houses.


      Comment by montucky — June 3, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

  6. I hope your repairs included webcams so you can make sure the babies are doing okay 24/7.


    Comment by knightofswords — June 3, 2010 @ 10:31 am

    • I’m sure it would be interesting to see the little ones in the nest. I’ve never even see a baby though. You can hear them so you know they are there, but suddenly they are gone.


      Comment by montucky — June 3, 2010 @ 10:52 pm

  7. Cute pics! I love watching all the birds that are nesting around here. I would love to have my own place so that I could hang up bird and bat houses.


    Comment by Patia — June 3, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

    • We have six houses here and I rather loosely maintain another dozen along a road through some fields a couple miles from here. They are all used each year. We have also had a bat house for years, and although we have tried different locations for it, no bats use it. We do enjoy seeing them feeding on insects around our yard light though.


      Comment by montucky — June 3, 2010 @ 10:56 pm

      • Bats do nest in the eaves of my garage. I enjoy watching them at dusk.


        Comment by Patia — June 4, 2010 @ 12:20 am

  8. Those are lucky Swallows, indeed! Nice photographs as usual. You are talented!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — June 3, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

    • Thank you! We enjoy watching them so much, maintaining those little houses for them is a small price to pay for that.


      Comment by montucky — June 3, 2010 @ 10:58 pm

  9. What a sweet little face. Good thing you kept them.


    Comment by Candace — June 4, 2010 @ 2:04 am

    • I’m glad I did. Two are pretty old though and I’ll replace them for next spring and probably build a few more just for the swallows.


      Comment by montucky — June 4, 2010 @ 8:58 am

  10. What sweet pics. I love tree swallows.


    Comment by songofthewolf — June 4, 2010 @ 10:47 am

    • They are very pleasant birds, friendly and lots of fun to watch beside getting rid of a lot of insects.


      Comment by montucky — June 4, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

  11. What beautiful photos! I really like the one the middle one.


    Comment by kateri — June 5, 2010 @ 4:58 am

    • She gave me a very curious look since I was so close, then seemed Ok with that.


      Comment by montucky — June 5, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

  12. Each spring my mother would *ask* (haha) my dad to clean up the bird houses… he would always say, “don’t you know that the birds like their houses to show that they have been lived in. If they want them cleaned they will do it.” You know what… there were always birds living in those houses!! : )


    Comment by kcjewel — June 5, 2010 @ 7:14 am

    • I’ve been caring for a dozen or so bluebird houses that had been abandoned a few years ago and had fallen into disrepair. I fixed them up and cleaned them and did some reading about bluebirds. Some of the folks who really get involved with that say they should be checked (take the roof off and look inside) every couple of weeks. I don’t do that, but every spring I clean them out. This spring I found one box with a dead bird inside and another that had unhatched eggs from the year before and one where the birds had filled it so full of twigs that there wasn’t enough room left for a bird (?!) and those are things I don’t think the the birds can take care of by themselves. I think also that it may vary by species of bird.


      Comment by montucky — June 5, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

  13. cute! my parents have had some mourning doves make their homes in their yard. one at the top of the basketball goal! the other in a hanging plant!


    Comment by silken — June 9, 2010 @ 7:48 am

    • It would be really nice to have doves nesting in the yard. There are two pairs that visit here every day but I don’t know where they nest. We have a section of a little canyon here that we have left entirely natural and they probably have their nests in there.


      Comment by montucky — June 9, 2010 @ 10:26 pm

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