Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Tree Swallow at Meadowlark Gardens

As Gregg decided to take this week off, we had fully intended to drive down to the Smoky Mountains which would have been wonderful, but after we had hummed and haaa'd for a while, we realized that neither of us felt like a long road trip. We decided to have fun in our own back-yard. There are plenty of places in this area that we have loved visiting over and over again, and that's what we have been doing every day. We have gotten lots of exercise walking around our favorite spots. Yesterday we visited Meadowlark Gardens and if you want to see other posts, you can click on the label below this one.

At Meadowlark the most predominant bird to watch, at least for us yesterday, was the Tree Swallow. They are seen zooming across the lake like a low-flying aircraft and it's quite a sight to behold.  An absolutely delightful little bird and the gardens have several nesting boxes all along our walk.  We came across this one and was drawn to it because of all the Canada Goose feathers. Not wanting to bother the bird I wasn't really that close as I was using a zoom.  

The Tree Swallow is medium in size but a very strong little bird and their legs are quite short.  They are in the air most of the time but you will see them perched on tree trunks and branches where they hold on tight with those strong little feet.  You can find more information here and also scroll down and click on the button that says 'typical voice' to hear what they sound like.

There is definitely something of the prehistoric in that little face.  When you read about the relationship between birds and dinosaurs, most researchers now support the idea that birds are a group of therapod dinosaurs that evolved during the Mesozoic Era.  Fossils of more than 20 species of dinosaur have been collected with preserved feathers, and many scientists now believe that birds are actually survivors of the great extinctions of the dinosaur age.

After a while it was time to leave our little dinosaur survivor to its nest building.  It was hot and muggy and I was thinking that with all that flying around and collecting of the feathers, it needed some well deserved rest.  Then again he might have been a relatively new fledgling who found it far too steamy inside the box and was getting some air.  Still being a fledgling birder myself and still learning the difference between markings of male, female and juvenile, it's back to the books.