Nesting behaviors and ectoparasite interactions of tree swallows

They also eat lots of insects. Adults have dark blue iridescent feathers on their back, with a snow white throat and breast. Males and females look alike, although females may be a little more greenish. Some adults are drab gray.

Nesting behaviors and ectoparasite interactions of tree swallows

Nesting behaviors and ectoparasite interactions of tree swallows

Watching and trying to decipher the meaning of swallow nesting season behavior is one of the most challenging yet fun things you can do at your project. But first a word of advice: The brain initiates a responding signal that travels back out along nerves to specific muscles, causing them to perform a particular action.

These sequences are automatic. These reactive behaviors will be performed mechanically whenever their particular activating stimuli are strong enough when the bird notices them.

The male swallow in the picture above responded automatically to the sight of a cavity hole, even though the cavity was lying on the ground. A bluebird has the bluebird set, a cardinal has the cardinal set, etc. Birds face constantly changing circumstances and must make many choices each day.

They must have at least a small level of flexibility in their responses. Learning is a process which an individual animal can use to change its behavior. For instance, a bird must learn where food is located, or learn to distinguish its mate from among many other individuals.

Learning can also refine the details of instinctive behaviors, making the instincts more effective. But remember that songbird lives are short. However, more than 40 years of watching Tree Swallows has shown us that these birds most certainly are capable of learning from experiences.

As you watch your swallows try to determine the parts of their behaviors. The particular automatic behavioral reaction that was activated or released after the bird perceived the stimulus. How the situation was changed, if at all, for the bird or its surroundings after the response was performed.

Has the behavior helped the swallow maintain itself in some way or helped it reproduce? We can observe much of the "what" of a behavior, the physical motions or actions.

However, we can only make educated guesses about the "why," the reason a behavior was performed. Some behaviors will appear clear-cut, with seemingly obvious chains of stimulus, response, and result.

Perhaps you simply need to see more repetitions of the behavior before you get an "eureka moment. We have to accept that birds perceive the world differently than we do.

Their needs, abilities, and limitations are different from ours. Whatever they do is done in the context of swallow survival and reproduction, not human. It may help to distinguish between Maintenance Behaviors and Social Behaviors.

Mating Habits

Maintenance behaviors, such as foraging, preening, and reacting to potential danger or inclement weather, are performed by individual birds to care for their own bodies and avoid injury or death. Social behaviors, such as those involved in courtship, territoriality, raising young, and flocking involve interactions among birds.

Social behaviors use sounds, postures and movements as signals to convey specific "messages" that affect the behavior of others. Social signals of birds are not the same as human spoken language. They are more like our "body language," which we produce unconsciously all the time and which is probably a truer indicator of our feelings and motives than our speech.

One can also distinguish between Immediate Causes and Ultimate Causes of behavior. As the nesting season progresses through its series of stages you should notice major shifts in behaviors.Nesting Nest Placement.

Tree Swallows nest in natural cavities of standing dead trees, old woodpecker cavities, or nest boxes.

Bird-ectoparasite interactions, nest humidity, and ectoparasite community structure

On occasion they nest in hollow stumps, building eaves, Wood Duck nest boxes, holes in the ground, old Cliff Swallow burrows, or other unconventional sites. Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) are cavity-adopters, and frequently nest in artificial nest boxes. In artificial nesting colonies, intraspecific competition for nesting.

The Tree Swallow is often mistaken for the Purple Martin in early spring. This bird leaves its wintering grounds along the seacoast from the Carolinas to California to begin its season of .

Nest properties can influence host and parasite reproductive success, and therefore the outcome of host–parasite interactions, as well as the composition of parasite communities. Previous correlational results suggested that nest humidity may increase the negative effect of fleas on Great Tit (Parus major) reproductive success.

Tree Swallow: Medium-sized swallow with iridescent blue-green upperparts and white underparts. The wings are dark gray and tail is dark and forked. Black bill, legs and feet.


Swift, graceful flight, alternates slow, deep wing beats with short or long glides. Turns back sharply on insects it passes.

(). Ectoparasitism as a cost of coloniality in Cliff Swallows (Hirundo rustica). (). Effect of an ectoparasite on lay date, nest-site choice, desertion, and hatching success in the Great Tit (Parus major).

(). Effect of an ectoparasite on reproduction in Great Tits. ().

Tree Swallow nesting, mating, and feeding habits