Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) on Middleton Island in 2018

2018 was the 10th year for the Tree Swallow nest box project out on the remote Middleton Island (for more information check the previous annual posts). Once again Martha Hatch was kind enough to inspect all 20 boxes shortly after the breeding season:

I thank the Hatch family and ISRC collaborators for keeping an eye out for these beautiful birds during their stay on Middleton, and Tony Rinaud for the photos included.

Let’s end this post with a text about the Tree Swallow on Middleton Island, copied and pasted from the very interesting publication BIRDS OF MIDDLETON ISLAND, A UNIQUE LANDFALL FOR MIGRANTS IN THE GULF OF ALASKA by Lucas H. DeCicco and others of the Fish and Wildlife Service and University of Alaska Museum (Western Birds, Volume 48, Number 4, 2017):

Tachycineta bicolor. Tree Swallow. Casual in fall, but local breeders remain into early Aug (e.g., 30+ from 31 Jul to 5 Aug 1983; PJG, DRN). One was notably late on 9 Sep 2012 (photos ML26887741 and 26887751, LHD, CWW) and the only one recorded after early Aug. The species’ occurrence as a migrant in late Jul and early Aug was difficult to assess because of its status as a local breeder. Uncommon in spring: Earliest dates 12 May (one, 2012; KHE) and 14 May (eight, 1981; DDG). Uncommon as a breeder in summer, when first reported nesting in “cavities in an old building” by Rausch (1958:237); nesting continued into the 2010s (TvN). As of spring 2009 the species had successfully bred in a small number of artificial nest boxes (TvN). Notes: Tree Swallows breed commonly in coastal s-c Alaska, typically departing there by mid-Aug (Isleib and Kessel 1973).