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Category Archives: Tree Swallow


Tree Swallows are using several of the bluebird houses at Hoffman Hills.



When I find a bird I want to photograph I usually start taking photos as soon as I see it. I then try to move closer taking more photographs as I move. Normally the bird fly before I get really close but this Tree Swallow continued to pose for photograph as I moved closer. I had my lens fully extended for all of the shots.


I have been seeing quite a few Tree Swallows at Hoffman Hills. This pair was checking out some nesting sites.


Last week when I was mowing the lawn I noticed a fledgling Tree Swallow was watching me every time I drove by on the mower. Later in the day I walked out and took a few photos as it watched. In a couple of days I noticed it was gone.

There are a variety of flowers blooming this wee. The most prominent are the Wild Lupine and the Prairie Smoke. Orange Hawkweed, Goat’s Beard and Blue Flag Iris are also blooming. I used to see a lot of Blue Flag Iris around but most of it seems to have dissapeared.

I managed to photograph a few birds. I haven’t seen any Eastern Bluebirds nesting this year. Most of the nests seem to be occupied by Tree Swallows.

There were a pair of Canada Geese nesting this year. We were on a trip when they started sitting on the eggs. They were still on the nest until the end of this week. Most of the Canada Geese hatched their young two or three weeks ago and we were concerned that something was wrong. The first shot of the male was taken a couple of weeks ago. The second shot was taken of him earlier in the week when he was near the nest and looking depressed. When we went out yesterday both adult geese were gone and we couldn’t find any young. We concluded there was a problem and the young did not hatch.

Some additional wildlife around. This White-tailed Deer took of running. There were also a few butterflies around.

The grasses are also blooming in the prairie area.

This past weekend after the Sandhill Crane Count we drove out to Hoffman Hills to look around. Not a lot happening. We did notice that the Tree Swallows have returned. We photographed this pair near a bird house.

There were some nice reflection shots in the two ponds.

The first part of April the first Eastern Bluebirds returned for the summer. They have been searching for housing in the area.

Eastern Bluebird

They were followed by the Tree Swallows. The battle for nesting spots has begun.

Tree Swallow

The Chipping Sparrows have been frequenting my feeders.

Chipping Sparrow

The song Sparrows are back and singing up a storm.

Song Sparrow

White-throated Sparrows can be found at the Feeders.

White-throated Sparrow

The Dark-eyed Junco is a winter bird but a few of them are still hanging around. I expect they will all be gone in the next few weeks.

Dark-eyed Junco


The last of the spring birds have returned to the farm.

Two weeks ago a Rose-breasted Grosbeak turned up at the farm.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak male

Rose-breasted Grosbeak male

This past week my wife saw a Ruby-throated Hummingbird and a Baltimore Oriole. So far there appear to be only a couple of birds.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird male

Ruby-throated Hummingbird male

Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole

Tree Swallows have also returned are are checking out the housing situation. This year I added more bird houses so I hope there will not be fights between the Bluebirds and the swallows.

Tree Swallow

Tree Swallow

It had been over a week since my wife and I stopped at Hoffman Hills to look around. Constant rain had prevented a visit but today it was beautiful and sunny.

The ponds were really full of water. This emerging White Water Lilly was floating on the water.


The grasses were reflected in the pond.


As we approached the first pond in the wetlands area we encountered a pair of Canada Geese. They didn’t have any young but they were defending their territory. Another goose came flying in and they drove it off.




The trees and bushes were emerging from the long winter.



I was able to capture two birds that I had never photographed before. This elusive Belted Kingfisher was feeding in one of the ponds.


There was also a Northern Flicker feeding on the pond dyke.


The last time we were at Hoffman Hills there were a pair of bluebirds on this house. Tree Swallows seemed to have taken over.


I’ve been watching Eastern Bluebirds, House Sparrows and Tree Swallows as they built their nests this spring.

The female Eastern Bluebird seems to do the bulk of the nest building. She usually tries to bring large amounts of nesting material on each trip. Sometimes so much material that she has trouble getting into the nest.


The Male Eastern Bluebirds doesn’t seem to do a lot of work. He watches the female and sometimes follows her to where she is gathering nesting material. I’ve yet to see the male bring any material to the nest. In fact, one day the male went into the nest and actually brought some material out.

Eastern Bluebird male 12-4-_0746

Eastern Bluebird male

Eastern Bluebird male

The House Sparrows are different. Both the male and female participate in nest building. They are similar to the bluebirds in one respect, they seem to try and bring a lot of material on each trip.


It’s hard to tell if both the male and female participated in nest building since I can’t tell them apart. I have noticed that they bring only small amounts of nesting material on any given trip.


More Bird Photographs can be found on my Website.

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