Brief SummaryRead full entry
The violet-green swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) is a small songbird in the Hirundinidae family. They are about 12 cm in length, with a wingspan of 27 cm and a weight of 14 g (All About Birds 2016). They are an iridescent violet-green on the crown, nape, and back, white on the underside, with white also on the sides of their heads. T. thalassina is native to Western North America, ranging from Alaska to Mexico, and is usually found in open woodlands, mountains, and various urban settings, where they can be observed flocking with others of their kind or with a variety of swallow species (Seattle Audubon 2016). The swallows feed mainly on flying insects, including flies, bees, true bugs, and beetles, which are caught in flight at different heights. They feed both independently and in small flocks, flying low over fields or water or circling and swooping from significant heights, often foraging at higher altitudes than other swallows (Brown, Knott, and Damrose 2011). They begin nesting in the spring, building their nests with twigs, grass, straw, and feathers. Eggs will be laid one per day until the clutch of 4-6 white eggs is finished, and females will then incubate the eggs for 14 to 15 days. After the eggs hatch, the adult female and male birds will both take part in feeding the young, and will continue to feed them for a short time after the young leave the nest, which occurs 23-24 days after hatching (Seattle Audubon 2016).