Tree Swallow

TRSW-Reifel-2014-04-18

Today is the last day of my “bird photo blitz” for Vancouver Bird Week 2014 and for the Vancouver City Bird competition, for the simple reason that today, May 10th, is the final day of this special week and competition. So if you haven’t done so, take a moment to vote for you favourite Vancouver bird.

Today also happens to be International Migratory Bird Day 2014 – if you haven’t done so yet, I would strongly encourage you to explore this website.

I have chosen to finish my blitz with this beautiful pair of Tree Swallows checking out a tree house in Delta, BC’s George C. Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. I chose this photo to make an important point about this week and day: Many migratory birds around the world are in great difficulty, especially if they eat insects on the fly. Although the Chimney Swift and Barn Swallow are doing far worse, Tree Swallows are also declining.

There are probably many reasons for the decline in flying insects and the flying birds that eat them, but the use of certain pesticides, the decreasing number of family farms and climate change are probably the three leading causes. This decline has been going on for some time (for three decades or maybe more) and is quite alarming; you can find out more here, here and here (and this is only a very small sample, by the way).

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5 thoughts on “Tree Swallow

  1. They are such lovely birds I watched them last year at Maplewoods flats in North Van

  2. Love the photo: One perfectly in focus and the other clearly in focus – great shot! It’s hard to come up with a group of birds not facing difficulties. Many similar species of grassland birds are down as much as 50% for similar reasons. I saw a journal article recently noting that the Blue-footed Booby populations of the Galapagos are also down 50% over the last few decades due drop in sardine populations.

    1. Thank you! The only way to get one of these shots is to point your camera at a bird box with a bird on it already and start shooting in continuous mode when you think another might land. The rest is pretty much luck! As for collapsing bird populations, what you say is sadly true, but insect eating birds seem in particular difficulty at this time. And as a recent study on the Boreal forests indicate, we are still able to do something to make sure the numbers do not collapse completely.

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