HOME: www.hiltonpond.org

(Tachycineta bicolor)

Prior to 2001, there were apparently no verified South Carolina nesting records for Tree Swallows (Tachycineta bicolor). This year, two active nests were located by Larry LeCroy in bluebird nestboxes on Falcon's Lair Golf Course (Oconee County); a third was found by Scott Stegenga in a box near the lake at Table Rock State Park's Visitor Center (Pickens County). According to Steve Wagner, one Oconee nest was apparently robbed by a predator, but the other may have fledged young that hatched about 25 May 2001.

Tree Swallow nestling

All photos & text © Hilton Pond Center

On 25 June 2001, Bill Hilton Jr. of Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History visited the Table Rock nestbox and banded five nestlings that were about two days away from fledging. These represent the first known bandings of nestling Tree Swallows in South Carolina. The young birds were photographed and carefully placed back in the nest, which was festooned with large feathers (left). The parent swallows--which fearlessly dive-bombed the equally fearless bander (see bottom photo)--returned shortly after the banding process and continued tending their young.

In South Carolina's Coastal Plain, Tree Swallows are abundant fall migrants and summer rarities, and in the Piedmont and Mountain Regions they are fairly common during spring migration. Historically, they have nested across the northern U.S. into Alaska and throughout Canada south of Hudson Bay, but they appear to be making a range expansion likely facilitated, in part, by placement of nestboxes for Eastern Bluebirds (Sialia sialis). Tree Swallow nestlingTree Swallows frequently compete with bluebirds for these boxes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other northern states.

Tree Swallows catch insect prey on-the-wing, so they often are found near open water--including water hazards on golf courses. If the recent incursion of Tree Swallows into Oconee and Pickens Counties is any indication, the erection of bluebird nestboxes around lakefront property and on golf courses in the South Carolina Upstate may encourage additional swallows. Regardless of whether your goal is to attract swallows or bluebirds, artificial nestboxes in these locations are also a boon to titmice, chickadees, wrens, nuthactches, and other cavity-nesting species. You are encouraged to erect boxes, maintain them, and report any new South Carolina Tree Swallow nestings to RESEARCH.

. .Tree Swallow nest in nestbox

All photos & text © Hilton Pond Center

Bander being dive-bombed by Tree Swallows

Photograph (above) of bander Bill Hilton Jr. of Hilton Pond Center--himself taking digital photos of a hand-held nestling Tree Swallow--being deftly dive-bombed by protective parent birds (photo by Scott Stegenga).

All photos & text © Hilton Pond Center

Up to Top of Page

Back to Nestbox Research

Current Weather Conditions at Hilton Pond Center

This Week at Hilton Pond
is part of the

Nature Blog Network

If you found this information useful or interesting, please

Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History
It's painless, and YOU can make a difference!

Just CLICK on a logo below.

Make direct donations on-line through
Network for Good:
Donate a portion of your purchase price from 500+ top on-line stores via iGive:
Use your PayPal account
to make direct donations:

You can also
post questions for
The Piedmont Naturalist

Search Engine for
Hilton Pond Center

Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History is a non-profit research & education organization in York, South Carolina USA; phone (803) 684-5852. Directed by Bill Hilton Jr., aka The Piedmont Naturalist, it is the parent organization for Operation RubyThroat. Contents of this website--including articles and photos--may NOT be duplicated, modified, or used in any way except with the express written permission of Hilton Pond Center. All rights reserved worldwide. To obtain permission for use or for further assistance on accessing this Web site, contact the Webmaster.