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Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tree Swallows

Tree swallows, Tachycineta bicolor, show up at my favorite wildlife refuge (Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge -- click on the name to read about the place) in spring and stay for the summer. They readily move into nest boxes like the one in the photo that are provided for them by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These birds prefer to nest near water, so the coastal refuge is a perfect spot for them. Click to enlarge. 


                                                                                                                                            Tree swallows spend most of their day flying in pursuit of small aerial insects, gliding swiftly through the air and twisting and turning artistically as their blue feathers flash in the sunlight. This haiku written in 1818 by Issa, one of Japan's foremost poets, recognizes the aerial exploits of swallow-kind:

gliding through the cloudburst
so cleverly...
swallows


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