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Apr 3, 2012

Bluebirds vs. swallows at Cold Creek

Photos by BarrytheBirder
Monday I watched as the annual battle unfolded at Cold Creek Conservation Area between the Eastern Bluebirds and the Tree Swallows.   The battle is over who gets to occupy the 50 or so birdboxes scattered about the property.   Normally, after the skirmishes are over, the bluebirds are lucky if they have occupied 10% of the boxes (5 out of 50).   The Bluebird's main advantage in the battle is that it arrives on this breeding ground much earlier than the swallows and possession is 9/10s of the law.   But the swallow's main advantage is its aggressive harassment of other birds competing for the same birdbox.   A few bluebirds succeed but others give up the fight for a box and fade into the brush to find a natural cavity such as a dead tree or an old fencepost.   Birdbox 22, pictured above and below, has always been a bit of an anomaly at Cold Creek in that the bluebirds always do well competing for this particular home.   In fact, they seem to occupy it more often than not.   It will be a few more weeks before we know who the winner for this special box will be in 2012.   The bluebirds (above) and the swallows (below) took several alternating turns, throughout the morning, inspecting box 22 inside and out.    

Meanwhile, over at the old Cairns barn (below), a female Canada Goose seemed to be enjoying a sweeping view of Cold Creek from the roof's peak.   Or maybe she was amusing herself by imitating a weathervane.   Her male mate, on the ground, called repeatedly for her to    join him but she was in no hurry and took her own sweet time before flying down to him.

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