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Tree Swallow

Tachycineta bicolor


The Tree swallow averages 13.5 cm (5 inches) long and weighs about 20 g. Their bill is tiny. The adult Tree Swallow has iridescent blue-green upper parts, white underparts, and a very slightly forked tail. The female usually has duller colors than the male, often more greenish than the more bluish male. The juvenile plumage is dull grey-brown above and may have hint of a gray breast band.


These birds were found in an open grassland wildlife sanctuary. There are many nesting boxes set up for them, and they use them during the mating season.


Although my captures show these birds angry with each other, they are a communal bird and after the breeding season live in large communities numbering from hundreds, sometimes to nearly 1000. It is quite a sight to see them flying together just before dusk. During the breeding season is about the only time I have seen these birds act as aggressively as I have captured them here. They are not your typical ANGRY BIRD!

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53 Comments (1–25)

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 5 years ago

Echoing all below...Great Capture, and series!

AshleyT 5 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Desmond.E.S.O 5 years ago

These Pictures Are Absolutely insane!

EmilieChich 6 years ago

wonderful series, Willie!

James McNair
James McNair 6 years ago


StephenSolomons 7 years ago

Beautiful, truly a rare set of images

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 7 years ago

Extraordinary shots Willie !! Must have missed it.

williefromwi 7 years ago

Thank you for such kind words, I am deeply honored that you enjoy my attempts to capture the beauty I see in creation, Gilma Jeannette Ospino Ferreira-Norman

Fantastic!! There is nothing I can say of the beauty of your captures that someone have not already said here. Fantastic!!
Thank you for sharing your amazing photography, williefromwi.

KarenL 8 years ago

Tree swallows are considered the lab mouse of Ornithology. In one research project spanning more than 40 years, scientists are documenting changes to the breeding cycles of tree Swallows in North America. Climate change is raising the temperature and causing spring to come earlier - and so are the tree swallows. In fact more than 9 days earlier since the start of the project. Researchers are studying whether the change in their migration pattern is directly related to earlier springs, or to an increase in food. Whatever the reason it seems to be good news for the swallows as it potentially provides a greater chance of survival for the young born, and may result in an increase in their population.

williefromwi 8 years ago

Thanks Gerardo Aizpuru, you know me, and my motto, to make the "Ordinary look Exrtaordinary" I try rather hard to do that in all my captures.

Joshua, I am using a Nikon D300s ( 12 meg) I use all Nikkor Lens (Nikon). This was shot with a larger lens. I also always shoot in raw, and rarely spend over 2 minutes in photoshop with any of my captures, many times less then a minute. This photo is cropped slightly. Email me if you wish to know more about camera settings or anything. My email address is I also post many more photos to facebook and google+ if you want to see more of my work. Provided I have the time, I am always willing to share settings, and tips to taking better quality photos.

Josh Asel
Josh Asel 8 years ago

wow these are incredibly nice. what kind of camera setup are you using if you dont mind my asking?

Gerardo Aizpuru
Gerardo Aizpuru 8 years ago

Extraordinary as always Willie !

williefromwi 8 years ago

Thank you so much Sachin Zaveri, and Satyen. :)

Sachin Zaveri
Sachin Zaveri 8 years ago

Fabulous series,

Wild Things
Wild Things 8 years ago

Beautiful series Will!

williefromwi 8 years ago

Thanks KathleenMcEachern, one could say these are real life, ANGRY BIRDS, at least when I was making these captures. Mostly these swallows are very social and communal birds, but not during mating season.

Now these are swallows with attitude, Willie! Wonderful series. Love it.

williefromwi 8 years ago

Thank you so very much António Ginja Ginja, David Mroczkowski, and Sandra Pereira for your wonderful comments.

SandraPereira 8 years ago

Great pictures Willie ...I can almost hear the squawking :)

DavidMroczkowski 8 years ago


Great capture Willie,amazing series,congrats and thanks for sharing

williefromwi 8 years ago

Thank you so much StephenSolomons, and EnvUnlimited, my goal is quite simple, to get those who are marginally interested in wildlife, to fall in love with it, or at least appreciate it much more. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

StephenSolomons 8 years ago

such sweet little birds to be so angry. I love this series

williefromwi 8 years ago

Thank you so much Harsha Singh, PaddySomerville, and LaurenZarate,

It was difficult to choose only 6 photos for this series and even more difficult to choose which photo to lead with. Although I do not post hundreds and hundreds of captures to Project Noah, what I do post tends to be of the highest quality. I strive to make the "ordinary look extraordinary" I am thrilled you enjoy my efforts.

Spotted by

Waterloo, Wisconsin, USA

Spotted on Apr 15, 2013
Submitted on Apr 16, 2013

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