Tree swallows at the shore

tree swallows

Tree swallows perched on bayberry bushes in the dunes, Ocean City, N.J.

tree swallows

Big flocks… presumably migrating. It was a pleasure to watch them swoop and soar and catch bugs on the wing (from the porch of our vacation rental), then sometimes all flutter down to rest in the bushes. And maybe eat bayberries?

tree swallows

I wonder if the pair of tree swallows that nests each summer in our backyard migrates along this route too.

tree swallows

Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

Long-distance migrant. Tree Swallows begin migrating south in July and August, flying during the day and roosting in large flocks at night. Eastern populations probably migrate along the Atlantic coast to winter in Florida and Central America.

So, since they prefer both flying insects and seasonally abundant plant foods it’s no wonder that after nesting Tree Swallows flock up to search for food. Tree Swallows are especially fond fruits of waxmyrtle and bayberry bushes that grow in sandy soils near seacoasts. They are one of the very few birds able to digest the energy-rich waxy outer coatings of these berries.

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