Monday, March 16, 2009

Battle of the Titans!

On March 3, 2009, I spotted three tree swallows circling our property in the preparatory dance of love. They were chirping and fluttering and strutting and doing all the things they are supposed to do this time of year. Their acrobatics are astounding as they swoosh round and round circling above the pastures at terrifying speeds. Really, it is quite a show. These first arrivals were displaying their stuff in fine form and more arrived today, about two weeks behind the search party. I am sure some of these birds hatched and fledged from the boxes on our property

However....I knew that the battle royal was about to begin. A combat situation between two fly weights of the avian world. The tree swallows have one object on their miniature bird brains. It is a pair of boxes which are already claimed by a these two western bluebirds...


These bluebirds are the well established owners of the paired boxes on the post at this corner in the pasture. The male on the left and the female on the right staunchly defend their territory from alien invaders. They are vital bug eating members of the flittery-jittery gang that live year round at our house. Go bluebirds, Go!


Hooded in his brilliant blue space age helmet, we see a tree swallow jealously eyeballing the nesting boxes from the adjacent fence line. (above) Don't let the clean white shirt fool you. These tree swallows can get down and dirty fighting over nesting boxes.


Not to let the blatant stares go unanswered, Mr. Bluebird shows his ownership by flying into the nest box and putting his body in the entrance hole to block swallows from visiting his home. He is not going to loose his box to a bunch of fly by night visitors.


Working as the wing woman, Mrs. Bluebird perches on a nest box about 150 feet away and does the back door attack on the swallows chasing them out of her territory.

Then in what looked like aerial combat, the bluebirds and the swallows battled like 4 ounce titans. As the gang of tree swallows swooped and dived at them from above, the bluebirds launched short bursting attacks upward, always returning to their nest box. This display of territoriality only lasted for 3 minutes but it was enough to see who's box it was and who's box it was not. After finding their attempt to claim the box futile, the swallows disappeared. But they will be back. There are 6 other boxes they can use on our property...

Then the dominating pair of bluebirds stood at attention on the highest portion of the bluebird boxes, claiming their territory only as bluebirds can.


It was fun to watch and we shall see babies in a few more months!

15 Comments for OSL:

Pricilla said...

I can't wait 'til the bluebirds return. I have found the Western bluebirds to be so much prettier than the Easter ones...

Suzi said...

That was fun to watch. Now you just need to get a picture of the eggs and the babies when they hatch.

Amanda said...

Ohh my goodness how entertaining! Glad the bluebirds won out!!

Yaya said...

Do you add more bluebird homes each year? My hubby likes to make them and we were gonna put them up but something about you have to keep multiplying them each year because their family multiplies and stays together.

blueviolet said...

You saw the whole thing go down? That's amazing! Nature is fantastic!!

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

Well bless their pea-picking but valiant little hearts...

Those are some great pictures ye got there...

Grand Pooba said...

yay! Babies! BTW you take such good pictures! What camera do you have?

Mountain Woman said...

That was fun to read and I enjoyed the pictures. The only birds we have at the moment are crows because we are still buried under snow so I especially enjoyed your birds.

Kendra said...

Great shots!

Debbie said...

Wonderful photos. I love bluebirds. We have two houses ourselves.

Tink said...

Those are great photos. yay for the blue birds. It is funny that the sparrows fought instead of just getting in to another nest.

Life Ramblings said...

those are lovely bluebirds.

jubilee said...

We had two really feisty blue birds that lived in our tree. They'd even swoop toward us when we'd go outside to play. They are beautiful though.

Daisigirl said...

I just love these photos! Every spring we have a little bird nest right above our front door and it's so fun to watch one of the parents keep guard while the other goes on a food run!

Tulip's Talking said...

Your photography and story are just wonderfilled!

I have enjoyed your blog today. Thank you...

~Lily