Monday, August 18, 2014

Lots of Tree Swallows at Salisbury Beach State Reservation

Tree Swallows by Sue Mcgrath



Lots of Tree Swallows  -  8/15/14

There are swarms of thousands of Tree Swallows along New Hampshire's seacoast, Salisbury and on Plum Island.  They're be swallowing high-lipid bayberries, to build their fat stores for migration.  

Northern Bayberries contain carbohydrates and fat. The fat content of bayberries is nearly
50%;  Arrowwood Viburnum fruit contains 41% fat, and Virginia Creeper fruit  has 23%
fat.  These staging migrants will also consume lower energy fruits such as Pokeweed and
Chokeberry. 

Bayberries are a small, spherical fruit - yes, that same with a waxy fruit used for making fragrant candles. I know of a tradition that involved Bayberry Candles ~ burn one bayberry candle on Christmas Eve and another one on New Year's Eve, and that will bring luck and prosperity for the year ahead. 

I hope these migrants have a peril-free journey and a favorable winter in South CarolinaFlorida, along the Gulf Coast and proceeding as far south as Panama. Tree Swallows' primary food is insects,and they forage buggy, southern wetlands, sometimes in huge flocks.  They consume dragonflies, damselflies, flies, ants, wasps, beetles, stoneflies, butterflies, mayflies, caddisflies, sawflies, bees, moths, spiders and mollusks.

Good birding,
Sue

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