Photo: Terry Shaw

Tree Swallows are cavity nesting birds that use holes in old trees and those made by woodpeckers. Because they must compete with other cavity nesters they are among the earliest of returning migrants. Although they are mostly flying insectivores, unlike other swallows they will also eat berries, a habit that lets them survive colder weather in early spring before there is an ample supply of insects.

To supplement the natural nest cavities Menunkatuck has installed Tree Swallow nest boxes in Madison, Guilford, and New Haven. Former conservation chair John Picard modified a bluebird box with a slit opening that is sized to exclude European Starlings. The boxes are installed on PVC pipes with a baffle to prevent predation by snakes and raccoons.

Photo credits: John Picard, Terry Shaw

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